Archive for gleaning

things you should know about

Posted in aafb, economy & politics, food banks, food drives with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2009 by foodbankguy

One thing that doesn’t happen when you start a blog is people telling you how much time you really need to spend to make it something special.  On that note, coming off a crazy busy month or two, here’s a my first post in 45-some-odd-days with whole bunch of stuff you should know about:

sleek and stylish, in time for fashion weeks everywhere

sleek and stylish, in time for fashion weeks everywhere


  • I’ve mentioned Peter Norback and his One-Can-A-Week activities before, but I can’t remember if I shared his blog with you or not… if not, here it is!  Follow his weekly adventures, and start your own collection in your neighborhood!
  • That’s all for now.  The holidays are fast approaching and no doubt you will see lots of food drives and other festivities involving your local food bank.  I invite you to participate!

playing pepper

Posted in aafb, food, food banks, fun with tags , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by foodbankguy

As it’s a food and a fun little baseball game during these last few hot summer days and nights, I thought playing a little pepper with a few things going on might be appropriate… 

an appropriate pepper mashup

an appropriate pepper mashup

My buddy Chet Provorse runs at ton of kids-related educational events and engagements on behalf of St. Mary’s Food Bank.  He also has a nifty blog–niftier than mine I might add–and one of his recent posts really touches the heart.  Seems that Cody Mitchell, an ambitious 7-year old kid from Glendale, has taken it upon himself to host a huge book sale to benefit the food bank after seeing a similar idea on TV.  And they say TV rots the kids’ brains…

Our friends at Western Refining have graciously decided for a second year in a row to donate 12,000 gallons of diesel fuel to help keep our Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project semi-trucks on the road.  That amount will keep them going for at least six months, and represents a huge donation that helps keep our trucking costs down, as well as those of the food banks who rely on us to help transport food around the state.   AAFB president Ginny Hildebrand was on hand to accept their generous gift:

I hope they have huge debit card readers at their pumps!

I hope they have huge debit card readers at their pumps!

Another good friend of mine with a far superior blog brought this article on fighting hunger to my attention.  Turns out a city in Brazil with a population of 2.5 million people has mostly solved their food insecurity issues by embracing community involvement in government decision making, all the while reducing health costs and mostly eliminating crippling social stigmas that come with people not having enough to eat.  A must read.

There was another great article early this week on how prison inmates are helping out food banks by growing and harvesting vegetables–something that we take advantage of for the aforementioned Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project.  This really is a win/win for communities, hungry people, and inmates who are making an honest effort toward rehabilitation.  As you probably already know, the U.S. incarcerates so many people–more so than any other first-world country, and shamefully in my opinion–that it’s nice to see the ocassional story about something positive coming from that.  And another plug for Ms. Hildebrand, who has a nice quote in the article.

Finally, Hunger Action Month is next month, so start making your plans!  Ladies in particular, Macy’s is calling–soon you’ll be able to purchase tickets that entitle you to sweet discounts while also benefitting your local food bank!

how stamp out hunger and higher gas prices relate

Posted in aafb, food banks, food drives with tags , , on June 12, 2009 by foodbankguy

Stamp Out Hunger, as you may know, is the annual postal service food drive that was just held this past May.  Going on for 17 years now, it is the largest food drive in the country by a wide margin.  This year, 73.4 million pounds of food was collected, marking the sixth consecutive year over 70 million pounds.  Perhaps even more amazing is that in this economy, with so many forced to cut back, over 300,000 more pounds were collected than in 2008!

To give you some perspective, all the food collected for this year’s Stamp Out Hunger campaign translates into nearly 57.35 million meals, which is enough to feed 52,369 people 3 meals a day for an entire year–365 days.  That’s roughly the entire population of Casper, Wyoming, by golly!  I bet nobody who reads this has even been there before… hell, I’ve never been there before… uhhh…  nonetheless, the point stands!

One of the biggest reasons this food drive is so critical to food banks around the country is the supply chain factor:  letter carriers are picking up the food at individual mail boxes, filling their little mail trucks, and delivering the food to local food banks.  That logistical exercise saves food banks a considerable amount of money on transportation and labor costs. 

When people give money to a food bank, the bulk of it goes to the purchase  of food, and indeed food banks in Arizona have a great track record:  AAFB member food banks report that $0.96 of every $1 they receive goes toward food purchase.  There are other, less sexy costs though, and oftentimes those costs are fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.  Someone has to collect all that food you see at a food drive at your local supermarket or other retailer.  Someone has to deliver food out to the small pantries in far away rural communities, and as you know, Arizona is a huge, giant state to traverse.  And when gas prices go up as they have over the past several weeks, you can see how much extra has to be budgeted just to deliver this food.  The fact that the largest food drive of the year includes built-in pick-up makes it an extraordinary event for food banks.

For those curious, this is also an area where AAFB helps out:  the Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project is a trucking operation that transports food to and from food banks, and also rescues leftover, unsaleable or unwanted produce from the Nogales point of entry, Yuma (and by extension, California) and numerous farms throughout the state.  The Gleaning Project is truly a great service for the food banks and is one of the things AAFB is most proud of.

gettin' ready to haul another load for the Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project!

gettin' ready to haul another load for the Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project!