Prescott Community Cupboard sees number of customers seeking services increasing throughout county
Food Banks

David Hendrickson, employee, and Karl Frotzler, volunteer, sift through boxes and place items on the shelves of the Prescott Community Cupboard. (Debra Winters/Courier)

David Hendrickson, employee, and Karl Frotzler, volunteer, sift through boxes and place items on the shelves of the Prescott Community Cupboard. (Debra Winters/Courier)

Editor’s Note – This is the sixth in an ongoing series of articles about food banks and the challenges they face feeding the Quad Cities.

The Prescott Community Cupboard Food Bank, located on the corner of Hillside and Walnut streets, serves individuals experiencing a lack of food throughout Yavapai County — and those numbers are increasing.

Customers must show identification to prove it’s them to cut down on frequent visits. If someone has no identification, they’re given a pre-filled bag of items and information on how to obtain identification. And the cupboard tracks the ages of customers as they are a qualified charitable organization.

Registration and pickup hours are Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:30 to 6 p.m.; Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In January, the cupboard served 1,627 people, and that number doesn’t include family members who were at home, which totals approximately 2.3 people per residence. Customers reside locally and as far away as Ash Fork and Kirkland, said Bud Heitman, cupboard board chairperson.

Like many food banks, the number of customers assisted has increased over the past few years. In 2021, the cupboard served 17,000 people, in 2022 that number jumped to 28,000, and last year a whopping 35,000 were helped. These totals include homeless, working people who can’t get by on the salary as cost-of-living continues to escalate, as well as senior citizens.

“And some people come in nice cars but that doesn’t mean they are well off. We don’t vet anyone, we just give them the help they need,” Heitman said.

And even more alarming, in 2022, 3,100 children were helped by the cupboard, and that number spiked to 7,500 for 2023.

“It’s a shock, you don’t realize so many are suffering. I was blind to it. I quickly realized just how difficult it is for so many individuals. And it made huge difference to me giving back. The people here have big hearts,” said David Hendrickson, employee.

As far as food distributed, Heitman said 105,000 pounds were given out in 2021, 279,000 in 2022, and 415,000 just last year.

Pre-packaged food is ready for customers to take in bags, which includes canned items, a pound of burger meat, and a stick of butter for people with cooking facilities. Canned items usually have pop tops and, if not, a can opener can be included.

The cupboard also allows four clients at a time to shop for refrigerated items, families with fewer than four members get one bag and those with more than four get two, on a once-a-week basis. They’re allowed to shop the perimeter of the building for as much bread, produce and fruit as they’d like.

Donations to the Prescott Community Cupboard come from a variety of local businesses including Panera Bread, which gives 500 to 1,000 pounds of food per month, usually pastries and breads; Fry’s and Safeway also contribute foods as well as The Salvation Army, which gives food it does not use; and the Prescott Public Library also contributes goodie bags per its community outlook program, and the cupboard as well donates to them, Heitman said.

And like many food banks, the cupboard also gets staples from St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix.

“We buy food from St. Mary’s, usually canned goods. It’s a great organization,” Heitman said.

However, Heitman said as far as donations are concerned, the biggest ones come from people themselves, who give food as well as write checks.

Another source of donations comes from Green Bag, which is made up of neighborhood organizers who collect food and bring it to a central location for the cupboard to pick up.

“Last year, over 6,000 pounds was donated to us,” Heitman said, smiling. “We appreciate everything we get from everyone.”

Currently the cupboard has 200 active volunteers, two full-time employees, and four part-time employees. And on an average day, between seven or eight volunteers are utilized. “Our volunteers are very efficient, we couldn’t do this without them,” he said.

It’s a collaborative effort of everyone involved, and while the experience may feel different for some, the overall reasoning coincides.

“It’s been best thing serving and helping people. It actually pales in comparison to what I was doing. I’d rather be feeding people than wiring up entertainment systems in homes,” said Max Lynch, employee.

For more information, call 928-277-0092 or visit www.prescottcommunitycupboard.com.

Reach Debra Winters by email at dwinters@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1111.


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