Imagine this: It’s Tuesday. You get paid on Friday. You are out of money from an unanticipated car repair. You are out of food and have some hungry mouths to feed. What do you do?
September is Hunger Action Month. It is a month to reflect on the abundance enjoyed in this great country and remember those who don’t always have access to it. Food banks around the country work every day to shrink Tuesday into Wednesday and Wednesday into Thursday, helping make each paycheck stretch all the way to Friday.
The United Food Bank recently experienced one of those unanticipated expenses. Our freezer broke, and we lost food that could have gone to feed hungry people. Despite our physical check on Saturday and our alarm system, the failure wasn’t caught until Monday morning. With a sense of dread, I read a text from Benito, our Director of Operations, “Are you awake, we need to talk!” Our great team quickly put together a plan, salvaged and distributed as much food as possible, and began work to “fix the freezer.”
The generosity of the community was overwhelming. When Sen. John McCain tweeted about our need, an hour later our website crashed from all the donor traffic. We received donations from all over the country and as far away as Greece. I felt like Jimmy Stewart at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The outpouring of concern and help were humbling.
Our freezer is fixed. It’s almost full again. We are developing additional systems to help prevent another catastrophe. We cannot express adequate appreciation to our community and all those who supported us, but we thank you. We appreciate the support. Even with the best laid plans, unanticipated accidents happen, so is the journey of many in our community.
Together, we can turn Tuesday into Friday. Feeding people is simply not enough. We must teach, train and mentor those who struggle. We must build resumes, attain better educational levels, and have stable, affordable housing. Hunger Action isn’t just about food. It’s about breaking the cycle of poverty. We can’t continue to measure success through the number of pounds we distribute or the number of people we feed. It’s time to step back and look at the big picture then work ourselves out of a job. As our clientele achieves a measure of self-sufficiency, fewer and fewer people will need the food bank. That’s ok. In partnership with our agencies, will teach them to fish. Just handing out fish is no longer enough.
Remember, September is Hunger Action Month, a month when we stand together and speak with one voice. It’s a month to spread the word about the hunger crisis in our community and dedicate ourselves to a solution. It takes more than food to fight hunger. It takes an entire community of support. Let’s do this and help fight hunger together.
During September, take action to help your neighbors in need by holding a food drive for the United Food Bank at your school, church or workplace. Every food donation received by United Food Bank adds up and makes a difference.
Looking for a service project? Have your group hold a fundraiser to alleviate hunger. If you know of someone facing a financial crisis, surprise them with some groceries. Also, let them know they can go to www.unitedfoodbank.org to find the nearest food pantry where they can turn for additional support. Consider another option: simply give a donation today at https://unitedfoodbank.org/wc/donation/. Our mission is to feed hungry people, and we’ve been doing it since 1983.
Dave Richins is President and CEO of United Food Bank and resides in Mesa. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
United Food Bank
245 South Nina Drive
Mesa, AZ 85210
Dear Dave Richins:
On behalf of Charity Navigator, I wish to congratulate United Food Bank on attaining the coveted 4-star rating for demonstrating strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.
The nonprofit sector is advancing and expanding. As our organizations evolve, so do the desires and interests of our supporters. Astute donors are yearning for greater accountability, transparency, and for concrete results from us. With more than 1.5 million American charities, Charity Navigator aims to accentuate the work of efficient and transparent organizations. The intent of our work is to provide donors with essential information to give them greater confidence in both the charitable decisions that they make and the nonprofit sector.
Based on the most recent information available, we have issued a new rating for your organization. We are proud to announce that your organization has earned a 4-star rating. This is our highest possible rating and indicates that your organization adheres to sector best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way. Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that United Food Bank exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in your area of work. This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets United Food Bank apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness. Approximately only a quarter of rated charities have achieved this distinction!
Forbes, Business Week, and Kiplinger’s Financial Magazine, among others, have profiled and celebrated our unique method of applying data-driven analysis to the charitable sector. We evaluate ten times more charities than our nearest competitor and currently attract more visitors to our website than all other charity rating groups combined, thus making us the leading charity evaluator in America. Our data shows that users of our site donated more than they planned to before viewing our findings, and in fact, it is estimated that last year Charity Navigator influenced approximately $10 billion in charitable gifts
Your achievement and the 4-star rating will enhance your organization’s fundraising and public relations efforts. Our favorable review of United Food Bank’s financial health and commitment to accountability & transparency is now visible on our website.
We wish you continued success in your charitable endeavors.
President and CEO
See the original letter here: Charity Navigator 4-Star Rating Letter
As the season winds down, citrus will no longer come through United Food Bank’s warehouse and small donations are fresher when provided directly to the Agency for distribution. There is no longer a county quarantine on citrus–which will now allow you to accept from any location inside Arizona.
Here is our information sheet that will help with any questions you may have in regards to donated citrus. You may refuse citrus that you feel does not meet these guidelines. Thank you for helping provide fresh grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, and lemons to your community!
Listen to United Food Bank’s Chief Impact Officer Kelli Shepard, the Association of Arizona Food Bank’s CEO Angie Rodgers and St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance CEO Tom Kertis as they talk about how great the impact of food insecurity is across Arizona.
Especially for those agencies that serve in Mesa, Tempe or Gilbert – did you know that UFB operates every Friday a Help Yourself Co-Op program where meat, produce and dry goods can be purchased for $20.00? Let your pantry visitors know of this unique service for them!
January 27th’s Menu $20 package includes:
- Produce 8.5lbs (or more) – Bananas, golden apples, carrots and onions
- Meat – Ground beef 1 lb pack, Whole Fryer Chicken, 1lb pack Bologna, and 1lb pack of Hot dogs PLUS
ground turkey OR ground beef OR bacon (all 1lb packs).
- Dry Goods: Spaghetti pasta, spaghetti sauce, mixed fruit and canned tuna
You can also purchase extra meat bags for $13.00.
Help Yourself clients can also make selections from a variety of complimentary items like breads and pastries, dairy and deli products. This week’s walk through items are bell peppers, bread, tomatoes, egg plant, salad mix and potatoes.
The program offers a great opportunity for anyone who’d like to make the most of their food budgets; weekly or monthly. There are no qualifying requirements or limits and is open to the public.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 12 noon at our Javelina Volunteer Annex at 358 East Javelina, Mesa, AZ.
As someone new to food banking, the past three weeks have been a wonderful immersion for me into a world that our Partner Agencies so amazingly navigate every day!
In a short amount of time, I have had the privilege to see the work at East Valley Resource Center handing out fresh produce (just HOW do you cook an acorn squash?) to the smiles at the Help Yourself Co-Op on Fridays. I have witnessed the talented UFB drivers who move pallet after pallet of food in and out of small spaces and even in a heavy downpour of rain!
From Feeding America, Hungernet.org and UFB staff, I am absorbing the processes and requirements so I can help make it easy for new agencies and help streamline the paperwork that you do. Building a more robust Agency Resources website with the resources you need is part of that goal.
I, like you, see numbers that tug at your heart: 20% of the state is living in poverty….1 in 4 of our children struggling with hunger. Then I see numbers like 26 million pounds of food distributed last year – by YOU – our amazing partners.
I am so excited to have joined this team. If you have questions, I am to here to find the answers for you. Thank you for all that you do!
- Chicken Quarters 4/10
- Blueberry Frozen
- Cherries, Canned
- Beans, Pinto Dry
- Pasta Elbow Mac
- Sauce, Spaghetti Meatless
- Juice, Grapefruit
- Beans, Green Canned
- Tomatoes, Diced Canned
Today we hosted our annual conference in Mesa with a theme about Puzzle pieces and how foodbanking works in Arizona. Since this was only my 8th day with United Food Bank, it was a great opportunity to meet many of the caring people behind our Agency partners and soak in all the food banking process, forms and information.
We had great questions and energy from over 40 different agencies who attended and we look forward to hosting this conference in Show Low on February 1st.
At the heart of our work (and your passion) is feeding our community. Your planning, reports and communication are what feeds the funding/delivery processes that make food available. We’re here to put those pieces together and hopefully solve a few puzzles for you as you care for our community.