The United Food Bank of Arizona is a private nonprofit organization that provides thoughtful food assistance through the collection and distribution of food donations, as well as other helpful essentials, to families in need.
At its core, the organization’s mission is to help promote stabilization within low-income and impoverished communities throughout Arizona, including Eastern Maricopa, Gila, Pinal, Apache and Southern Navajo Counties. United Food Bank achieves this through the distribution of nutritious food.
“United Food Bank, a Feeding America partner, acquires, stores and distributes food to 165 partner agencies and programs to serve more than 345,000 households annually across the East Valley and southeastern Arizona,” says Tyson Nansel, vice president of External Affairs at United Food Bank. “On average, United Food Bank provides about 75,000 meals daily through these partners.”
The process begins with the collection of the food and other related commodities. Whether it be through the Federal Government’s Emergency Food Assistance Program, United Food Bank’s grocery rescue program or items acquired through the Feeding America partnership, the nonprofit is able to effectively address nutritional gaps throughout the state.
While United Food Bank’s impact within the Valley is undeniable, the nonprofit played a particularly important role in the past year as the group’s team members worked to assist those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic — which dramatically increased the number of people struggling with food insecurity. According to Nansel, about one in five Arizonans and one in three Arizona children were impacted by issues with food insecurity.
“United Food Bank quickly responded to the pandemic’s economic impact by hosting large-scale public food distributions at the Mesa Convention Center,” says Dave Richins, United Food Bank CEO. “In 2020, we distributed 27 million pounds of food, a 20 percent increase over our distribution the previous year before the pandemic.”
Beyond providing food, the nonprofit emphasizes the importance of proteins, fresh produce and an abundance of quality nutritional foods to ensure that communities are improved and supported in all aspects.
According to the nonprofit’s website, United Food Bank has managed to provide nearly 300,000 pounds of food each week to those in need, thanks in part to the help of volunteers and involved grocery partners.
For more information on United Food Bank and to make a contribution, visit www.unitedfoodbank.org.