5 ways you can feed the hungry in the Prescott area
Food — everyone needs it; not everyone has enough.
World Food Day falls on Wednesday, Oct. 16, and celebrates the global progress made toward ending hunger worldwide, calling attention to the fact that one out of every nine people, or 11% of the global population, either have no food or not enough food.
The Feeding America website says that as of 2016, there are 33,860 food-insecure people in Yavapai County, a food-insecurity rate of 15.5%.
“Food insecurity refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods,” the site states. “Food-insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.”
Across the county, organizations, programs and projects have the goal of making sure those who are hungry have access to the food they need.
Challenges do arise, though.
Paulden Food Bank Treasurer Virginia Clevenger-Sullivan said one such challenge is making sure there’s enough meat and good produce.
One thing that’s helped with that challenge has been partnering with Saint Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, Clevenger-Sullivan said. That has allowed the Paulden Food Bank to make sure people coming on the third Thursday of the month leave with three full boxes of good food, Clevenger-Sullivan added.
“We’re just so very blessed,” she said. “So very thankful.”
When it comes to the fight against hunger, though, there’s always room to help. With World Food Day on the horizon, here are five things people can do to combat hunger locally:
DONATE TO FOOD BANKS
• Yavapai Food Bank, 8866 E. Long Mesa Drive.; mail donations to PO Box 4151 in Prescott
• Prescott Valley Food Bank, 8671 Spouse Drive.
• Prescott Community Cupboard, 313 Goodwin St.; mail donations to 434 W. Gurley St.
• Chino Valley Food Bank, 840 E. Road 1 South
• Paulden Food Bank, 195 Aspen Road
Volunteering and fundraising is a big thing, Clevenger-Sullivan said. It’s thanks to the time and effort people put in, along with the donations, that allowed the Paulden Food Bank to give 156 families a complete thanksgiving meal last November, she said.
CONTRIBUTE TO A PROGRAM
One such program is the Hungry Kids Project, founded by Ron Barnes. The project works with the school staff identifying kids in need of weekend meals and then volunteers purchase the food and assemble however many food bags are required each week. The food is placed in individual backpacks, which the kids pick up at the end of the school week. The program feeds kids in the Humboldt Unified School District, Chino Valley Unified School District, Prescott Unified School District and the Mayer Unified School District.
“We’re in our 10th year and we’re doing fine in raising money,” Barnes said. “The unfortunate thing is we still have a lot of kids that need help.”
There are 623 students who have been identified by local school staff as being in need of weekend meals in the Prescott area. More information about the Hungry Kids Project can be found at www.hungrykidsproject.com.
Chino Valley High School alumna Addie Daniels began collecting food as part of the Green Bags Project since August 2018 for Chino Valley School district students and a homeless food pantry run by her family and other volunteers at Chino Valley High School. The project collects from a network of people, including the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Drake Cement, Grace Baptist Church and the Town of Chino Valley. Cindy Daniels, her mother and assistant superintendent for the Chino Valley Unified School District, said anyone not involved with those groups can drop by her office at the district, where she always has bags for them to fill. It’s located at 650 E. Center St.
“We have people stop by almost every day, even with small things,” Cindy Daniels said in a June article in the Chino Valley Review. “I add them to the bags in my office too.”
The benefits to community gardening don’t just stop at providing nutritious food. The World Hunger Education Advocacy & Training Organization website says that community gardens also stimulate social interaction, beautifies neighborhoods and allows friends and neighbors to share responsibilities and the rewards.
PLAY FREE RICE
Go to beta.freerice.com and start answering multiple-choice quiz questions. Correct answers generate sponsored messages that trigger financial payments to the World Food Programme.
“In the game, these payments are represented by grains of rice,” the site states on its About page. “The amount of money generated when you view a sponsored message is roughly equivalent to what the World Food Programme spends to purchase 10 grains of rice. By playing, you are generating the money that pays for this rice. The money is also used to pay for other types of assistance — not only rice — depending on where needs are greatest.”
Out of every payment received by the World Food Programme, 93.5% goes directly toward helping children and their families.