Hunger in Arizona: An End in Sight for Pandemic Food Lines
Andrea Thomas had never asked for help with food until the pandemic hit.
“I was furloughed for four months and watching my financial reserves exhaust every single week,” she said, sitting in her car at a mass food distribution event with her 5-year-old daughter Lai’La.
From April to July of 2020, Andrea participated in United Food Bank’s drive-thru food distribution six times.
“There’s no work. There’s no income. At least we for sure have food,” she said, surrounded by hundreds of tightly packed cars at the Mesa Convention Center parking lot—just one location where United Food Bank distributed tens of millions of pounds of food over the past year.
It is clear that many people are still in the same boat.
About one in six Arizonans are turning to food banks and charity food programs to feed themselves.
But, there is hope.
Andrea is working again and is now giving back.
In December, she and Lai’La came to the Mesa Convention Center, but this time to help load food into the cars waiting in the 40-degree weather.
“We’re here to volunteer and help other families get the word that there is hope,” Andrea said. “It is amazing to have a
community come together and feed without questioning. United Food Bank is here to help if you need it.”
Just a few months after receiving food from United Food Bank, Andrea was able to turn around and help others.
“United Food Bank was there to bless my daughter and me during a time of struggle and need. I am so grateful to be able to do the same now in a community that I love.”