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SRPMIC Food Bank Needs to Distribute Extra Produce

Food boxes handed out at the food bank come filled to the top with food supplies as well as a variety of bread to choose from.

A recent surge in produce at the Salt River Food Bank has led to an outreach that goes beyond its regular food bank visitors.

Periodically over the past few months, the food bank has reached out to Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members and employees via email and word of mouth, asking them to stop by and pick up an extra squash, a bag of potatoes or any extra vegetable or fruit.

The surge in available produce is related to partnerships with two more farmland companies and United Food Bank of Mesa, which distributes to Salt River’s food bank on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

David Chiago, coordinator of the Salt River Food Bank, said an abundance of extra produce rarely happens. The main purpose of the food bank is to help families so no one goes to bed hungry, he said.

All the food, whether it is fresh food or canned food, is donated from grocery stores and farmlands within the Valley to United Food Bank of Mesa. The food bank is available to residents in the zip codes of 85256 and 85203 on Tuesday and Wednesday each week.

For the families who visit the food bank regularly, they seem to understand when food is distributed, but this extra produce needs to be distributed quickly or it will rot. In these cases, Chiago sends out a mass email, encouraging people to pick up what they can.

Also, Chiago said that the food bank is in the process of establishing a day to set up at the Lehi Community Center for the members of the Lehi District.

“We will be establishing the first food bank garden just north of our facility in the coming weeks. We also provide food boxes to Community members who are homebound due to medical reasons (with referral from their doctor),” said Chiago.

The program can provide WIC items for families with children age newborn to 5 years, along with diapers from newborn to size 6 and Similac Advanced formula (powder) on an emergency basis.

“We are going to be starting a nutritional cooking class in the coming months,” added Chiago, “so keep an eye out.”