Yuma Community Food Bank sees declining demand, but also donations

Food bank needs donations of money, goods and time – Adonis Albright of News 11 explains

YUMA, Arizona (KYMA, KECY) – The Yuma Community Food Bank has served thousands in the community and has been a lifeline for many through the worst months of the pandemic. More than a year later, the non-profit organization still sees a continuing need. Fortunately, it doesn’t compare to the March and April 2020 pandemic outbreak.

“The wires went around the building, back on the sidewalk to the corner and around the corner, and that was only for outside. We didn’t do anything inside … We served over 10,000 more people than normal in a month, “said Shara Whitehead, president and CEO of Yuma Community Food Bank.

While demand may decline, the lines are consistent and the need for volunteers and donations never stops.

“We still have large numbers of our veterans and seniors who will continue to need the help of the board,” said Whitehead. But that’s only a portion of the people in Yuma County who are looking for help.

“Summer has traditionally always been a higher unemployment rate because we have a lot of seasonally employed residents, and if for various reasons they are unemployed or cannot go to the next job, they come to the blackboard. ”

According to the latest figures from the Arizona Commerce Authority, the county unemployment rate stood at 13.1% in April. At the same time last year, that figure was 25% – a stark contrast that seems to mark a trend reversal.

The local board noted that not everyone who comes through their doors is necessarily unemployed. The pandemic has undoubtedly rocked the labor market in a number of ways, both in the short and long term.

“You can see everything from someone who has recently been unemployed to someone who has been reinstated but has fewer hours. You can see someone who has been re-hired but has been transferred to a different department and the workload has changed so their salary is not the same. “

The Yuma Community Food Bank is one of four of its kind in the state of Arizona and relies primarily on public donations and grocery chains. In the past few months, however, donations have also decreased.

“They have become a little less, more static, and I’m not sure what to attribute that to.”

The chalkboard is always on the lookout for protein-rich foods like peanut butter, tuna, and canned chicken or beef, and even cereal. Plastic containers are preferred.

The organization says that while it usually tries to anticipate the needs of the community in advance, the pandemic has created an element of uncertainty that has no clear end in sight.

To donate to the organization, click here. To learn more about volunteering opportunities, click here.

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