We are always taken aback to learn just how many people in our communities go hungry and the amount of helping hands that are needed to feed those in need. More than 37 million people in the United States struggle with hunger. Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition assistance programs and need to rely on their local food banks and other hunger relief organizations for support.

We are fortunate to have food on our table every day and felt called to give back to those in need. Our family and staff decided that we would donate our time by volunteering to sort and box food donations at United Food Bank. Each week, United Food Bank needs as many as 210 volunteers to serve 2 hours shifts at the Javelina volunteer center in Mesa. Last year the logged a total of 26,770 hours volunteered. Volunteers help sort donated food from drives and help assemble and pack Emergency Food Bags. Each bag contains enough food to feed a family of four for about a week. Nearly 95% of corporate volunteer groups for March and April have cancelled volunteering with United Food Bank until conditions regarding the virus improve. They still need healthy volunteers to help pack Emergency Food Bags and boxes.

According to United Food Bank’s website, there are 434,840 hungry children in Arizona alone. That’s not counting adults. United Food Bank depends on volunteers to get 300,000 pounds of food per week to the people in the East Valley and Eastern Arizona communities who need it most. With the shelves at grocery stores being emptied, it is drastically reducing donations to their Grocery Rescue Program. United Food Bank only collected 330,000 pounds of food for the entire month of March.

United Food Bank had nearly 30 food drives planned for the month of March. All of them have been cancelled except for a handful. The organization will lose approximately 20,000 pounds of food without food drives. As You Wish will be collecting canned and dry pantry goods at all of our Valley locations. We will have a large donation box just outside our front doors so you can simply drive up and drop off your food donations.

We were excited that some of our staff members were able to join our family in giving back to the community for this act of service. Wee packed 160 emergency food bags and sorted 8,788 pounds of food, which equates to 7,323 meals! It’s always a good feeling when you’ve finished your volunteer shift to know that your small act of service has made such a big impact on the community.

Here are some ways you can help!

Donate canned and dry pantry goods at any Valley As You Wish Pottery.

Donate at WeFeedAZ.org
Every $25 you donate helps United Food Bank provide enough food to feed three people for about 2 weeks. Your gift provides urgently needed meals during this crisis. 

More people in Arizona are going hungry, especially seniors. Make sure your neighbors know they’re not alone. For help finding food assistance, visit AZFoodBanks.org

To sign up for volunteer shifts at United Food Bank, visit UnitedFoodBank.org/volunteer