As Arizona’s economy begins to open back up, Valley food banks have reported they are still having a hard time feeding families.
Midwest Food Bank works to distribute food to approximately 300 agencies across the Valley. Once COVID 19 hit, Executive Director Merilee Baptiste says the vendors that help supply their food source had to send it to the grocery stores instead.
“We called 45 different stores and we got one store to allow us to buy one pallet of food, definitely not enough but some,” Baptiste said.
United Food Bank is facing a similar problem when it comes to buying items like rice and pasta, which is one staple that is hard to find.
“Those items, we’re just not able to find or purchase because they need to provide it to the store,” Tyson Nansel, with United Food Bank, said.
St. Mary’s Food Bank expressed their concern that they too are facing the same challenge. At this point they are now mainly relying on food from the government to keep their services going.
Baptiste says the national guard is even bringing Midwest Food Bank food from out of state to keep up with the demand.
“On any given week we’ve asked the national guard to haul at least 10 semi-loads of food from California or Nevada to here to Arizona which we can then use for their food boxes,” she said.
This is still a critical time in our state and it services a reminder that as businesses open back up, people in our community are still hungry and relying on food banks now more than ever.
“There are more agencies that have come to us saying we need your help and we’ve had to waitlist some of them until we can figure out is the food supply going to remain static or is something changing,” Baptiste said.
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