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9th annual food drive wrapping up

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The clock is ticking, and only one more day is left to donate food through the West Valley View’s donation drive.

While the time to get involved and serve the community with the View is running out, it is not the last chance for people to give their time and donations.

While food banks have a constant flow of volunteers, they could always use a few more during the summer months when people leave to escape the heat, said Teri Sims, Tolleson Food Bank office manager.

“We have a lot of volunteers that have been here for way over 10 years and they pretty much come consistently, but some of them do go away for summer breaks,” she said.

Those who wish to volunteer must be at least 18 years old, Sims said.

Anyone struggling to put food on the table can get a food box between 7 and 9 a.m. Tuesdays. The food bank asks for a $5 donation for each food box. Volunteers usually arrive to help around 6 a.m., some as early as 4 a.m., throughout the work week, Sims said.

However, what the bank needs most is more food donations, she said.

“The volunteers seem to really come consistently. The food is the more predominate thing that we need all the time,” she said.

While fresh food and cleaning supplies are welcome, non-perishables last the longest, she said.

“Cans are always a blessing because a lot of times, those are the ones that are able to hold out longer for people. Other than that, we take everything from perishables to cans and dry food,” Sims said.

People can also help by making donations to the school uniform program and donating water bottles, said Renato Alvarez, director of the Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank.

“What we really need at this moment also is water. Water for the homeless, water for the families,” he said in a phone interview.

He said most of the families the Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank serves make less than $13,000 annually with four to five household members.

“The community needs to know that we have needy people in our midst,” he said. “And it’s hard for a family of that size to have enough money to buy food.”

The Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank on average distributed about 55 food boxes per day during the summer of 2013.

“The truth of the matter is that the Agua Fria Food Bank served over 5,000 families last year and 79 percent of those families received less than two food boxes in 2013. Therefore, in our facility, we serve mainly families who are making an effort to be on their feet to overcome crisis,” Alvarez said in an email.

“We need you to participate with your food donation in the West Valley View food drive because the needy families need you, too,” he added.

In addition to water and food, a $35 donation will buy a child two school uniforms. People can also donate new uniforms. Shirts should be either white or forest green and pants either navy blue or khaki.

So far, 150 children have signed up to receive uniforms, and Alvarez said his goal is to provide uniforms for 450 total.

The Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank is not the only organization in desperate need of water for its clients.

All Faith Community Services in Goodyear and Buckeye have a large need for water as well, Director Cassie Wilkins said.

“Bottled water between now and October is going to be very vital,” Wilkins said.

She also stressed the need for hygiene products such as shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper and more, plus food items for senior citizens and children’s weekend food bags.

“That’s something that folks can really think about over the course of the summer time is helping us with those weekend snack sacks and then kind of paying attention to the things for our elderly, folks that have diet needs and anybody who has high blood pressure,” Wilkins said.

For seniors, she said the All Faith Community Services food bank needs donations that are sugar- and salt-free.

“We have a tough time with our seniors. Our senior boxes are ones where they have such specialized needs diet wise,” she said.

Typically, salt-free canned vegetables can be found at supermarkets in the same aisle as the ones with salt. Many seniors also enjoy sugar-free puddings and Jell-Os, she said.

All Faith also partners with the summer feeding program to provide children with weekend food bags.

Donations are needed in the form of juice boxes, breakfast bars, SpaghettiOs, and other products that are easy for children to make.

To stop by and make a donation or find out how to volunteer, visit or call the following locations:

The Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank at 405 E. Harrison St., Avondale. Call 623-932-9135 for information.

All Faith Community Services at 214 S. Fifth St., Buckeye, or 918 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear. Call 623-386-3513 for information.

The Tolleson Food Bank at the Tolleson Assembly of God at 10 S. 93rd Ave., Tolleson. Call 623-936-5199 or 623-936-1169 for information.

 

Charity Yodis can be reached by email at cyodis@westvalleyview.com or on Twitter @ckyodis.

 

 

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