Archive for food banks

holiday rush

Posted in aafb, economy & politics, food banks with tags , , , , , on December 10, 2009 by foodbankguy

The holiday rush is upon us, and thus I take this opportunity to wish you and yours the best during this season, my favorite time of year.  I’m partial to Thanksgiving, but really all of October though December is alright by me.

Snoopy's always a good choice for this time of year.

Not alright is tremendous demand food banks are seeing this year, up much more than usual, even though the time around the holidays is when demand historically peaks.  We did a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation a week or so ago and discovered Arizona food banks had moved 72% more food this year than at this time last year, but despite that increased distribution, they were only meeting about half of the total demand.  Scary stuff really, when you consider so many affected are children.

My CEO passed this on to me earlier today, which also helps frame the issue succinctly:   

36.5 million Americans currently take part in the Food Stamp Program, now officially called the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  That’s up by more than 10 million in just two years.  This program gives those on low incomes a monthly average of US $101 per person, or $227 per household, to spend on food.  Meanwhile, the USDA has also revealed the highest level of American food need ever recorded, with 17 million households, or 14.6%, struggling to put food on the table at times last year.  Across the Atlantic, 43 million Europeans are currently at risk of food insecurity (8.6% of the total EU population).

Locally, Fresh & Easy grocery stores–another favorite of mine–reported that for the third quarter of 2009, sales for the 13-week period ended November 28, climbed 37.4%, following some SNAP benefits being extended.  Costco recently announced it would accept SNAP benefits too, which is just another indication of how lucrative this market segment is… amazing to think of it as a desirable population for a retailer to reach, but there you have it.

Not all is bad though, I don’t want to bring people down, because this time of year does bring out some spirit, maybe even you could say the best in people.  Now how to harness that and distribute it equitably year-round?  Couldn’t tell you, I’m not a scientist, I don’t even like driving by Holiday Inn Expresses, but here are some recent stories from around Arizona that should put a smile on your face:

Finally, I’ll mention that if you’re struggling to find a gift for someone, hate malls, or just don’t have the time to be shopping all the time, consider a gift to AAFB in someone’s name.  It’s a very honorable thing to do, and there’s a pretty sweet tax credit in it for you too!  So long as you qualify, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah… but you get the idea!  Your funds help feed your neighbor who might be down on their luck, and also helps fund advocacy that might help your neighbor not be so hungry in the first place, hopefully in the not so distant future.  Remember, hunger is a fixable problem in this country if we want to fix it.

turkey time!

Posted in food, food banks, fun, people with tags , , , , , on November 4, 2009 by foodbankguy

It’s officially November, which officially means Thanksgiving turkey and football.  I happen to love both those things, culminating with the 8-legged turkey they used to give out to Barry Sanders every year during the Thanksgiving day football game after he ran for 170 yards or something.  While I never believed in the existance of an 8-legged turkey, I can tell you that I wanted to believe in them more than the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.  Just seemed like a pretty damned cool idea to me, what can I say?  You gotta believe in something, right?

real turkey

john-madden-thanksgiving

I wish was real turkey... on a side note, this is the best photo of the famed bird I could come up with. come on interwebs, it's like 2010 almost and nobody's bothered to archive a better pic of an 8 legged turkey? for shame...

So sticking with the theme, wouldn’t you like to help out your neighbor with the gift of turkey?  Food banks around Arizona are happy to receive turkey donations for those who might have to go without.  Check out this select list of drop-off points and turkey drives that are just waiting for your participation!  If you know of some others not mentioned here, feel free to send ’em my way and we’ll get the word out!  And if you’ve got a good Barry Sanders or John Madden story, share that as well.

catching up

Posted in aafb, economy & politics, food banks, fun with tags , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by foodbankguy

Wow, it’s been a while, so I wanted to catch up on a few things…

Bashas’ recent bankruptcy filing was unexpected and sad, in that you hate to see a local institution suffer.  All indicators are that they will come back better than ever, so we do have that to look forward to.  Bashas’ has been a longtime supporter of Arizona’s food banks, and there are other interesting tidbits here that you might not have known about.

The Arizona Daily Star began a series this past Sunday that profiles various different families severely affected by the recession.  While I think it’s a valid complaint that the series thus far has not offered any solutions or counter-stories of those finding successful ways to ride out the recession, these stories nonetheless offer a glimse into how just a single misstep or living with no margin for error can really affect people when things get ugly.  And if nothing else, a long-form, investigative-esque newspaper series is really something like a dodo sighting anymore; enjoy it while you still can.

You can support AAFB by having Better Deal Printing handle your next print order.   Based out of Prescott, but specializing in online orders, Better Deal is donating 10% of their sales to AAFB from now to the end of July.  They are also affordable and eco-friendly, so what else could you want?

Finally, I’ll be out at the Goodyear Swap Meet this Saturday for their annual Back-to-School Clothing Swap, handing out information on school breakfast and lunch programs.  In a nutshell, you can trade-in gently used clothing your child has outgrown for some of the same that fits. 

don't be square, come on out!

don't be square, come on out!

Sure, it’ll be hot, but I can assure you that swap meets are very, very cool!  I once bought one of these for peanuts at a swap meet!