Opinion: Wickenburg food pantry receives $14,000 from statewide food bank coalition

By Elena Burr, MPH

December 15, 2023

A Wickenburg food bank that specializes in elderly care just received a major donation to help them more effectively move, store, and distribute food.

The Arizona Food Bank Network, a coalition of 5 major food banks and over 1,000 pantries and agencies throughout the state, donated $14,175 to the Foundation for Senior Living’s (FSL) Wickenburg food pantry.

The funds will help FSL keep up with an increase in demand for nutritious food throughout the rural parts of Maricopa County. Tami Bohannon, CEO of FSL, says the rise of households in need is an after-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in inflation it brought.

“Due to financial hardship, we are seeing seniors being forced to choose between groceries and prescriptions,” said Bohannon. “Our commitment is to alleviate the stress of this impossible decision. Thanks to the support of the Arizona Food Bank Network, we anticipate surpassing the 250,000 pounds of food boxes/bags distributed in Wickenburg last year.”

The donation will allow FSL to purchase the following items to improve the food bank operations by enabling the nonprofit to move, store, and distribute more food effectively

Here’s what the donation money will go towards:

  •       1 industrial freezer: $9,000
  •       1 Electric pallet jack: $3,000
  •       10 food storage racks: $1,435
  •       4 polycarbonate food storage containers: $240
  •       4 plastic utility carts: $500

FSL’s Wickenburg food pantry regularly receives generous donations of frozen foods. However, the organization has encountered challenges in the past, where limited freezer capacity forced themto decline some contributions. They also receive large pallets of food that, with only a manual pallet jack, proved to be time-consuming and tiresome to move and distribute. Additionally, existing food storage capacity is limited.

“The Arizona Food Bank Network is proud to have contributed to capacity building at FSL’s Wickenburg food pantry with funds graciously provided by Maricopa County, enabling them to expand their reach and aid more members of the community,” shared Wendy De La Peña, communications and outreach manager for the Arizona Food Bank Network. “While food security is essential year-round, the holidays can be especially trying for many families struggling with hunger. We hope that this grant comes just in time as the food pantry prepares for a busy time.”

This support from the Arizona Food Bank Network will facilitate the acquisition of essential resources, including a 3-section reach-in freezer, a fully electric pallet jack, food storage racks and containers, and utility carts. These critical additions will empower FSL to enhance operational efficiency and more effectively combat prevalent food insecurity in rural Maricopa County.

About FSL:

FSL is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide home and community-based services and to develop energy-efficient, affordable housing to promote health, independence and dignity for all. With a long history of helping Arizona families with issues including health, hunger, aging, illness, loneliness and substandard housing, FSL is committed to improving the quality of life for all Arizonans. To learn more about FSL programs and services, visit fsl.org.

Author

  • Elena Burr, MPH

    Elena Burr, MPH serves as the Communications Manager for FSL, a healthcare and housing nonprofit founded in 1974. She has a passion for sharing stories on behalf of public health and social change organizations.

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