October 2013 Service Project: United Food Bank

United Food Bank

INSPIRE had the opportunity to volunteer with the United Food Bank in Mesa, AZ and we had a blast!  We were asked to sort through entire HUGE bins full of food. These bins were filled with food that people had donated and we needed to check to see if they were still edible, etc.

assebly line.

INSPIRE and other volunteers separate food, figure out if it is expired or has nutrition facts, and then sorts it into specific boxes to be packaged.

Do you have any idea about how much hunger there is in Arizona?

Arizona Hunger Statistics

  • Arizona is tied as the worst state in the U.S. when it comes to child hunger, and the 5th worst for overall food insecurity.
  • 1 in 4 children; 1 in 5 adults; and 1 in 7 seniors struggle with hunger.
  • 888,100 unduplicated Arizonans received emergency food assistance in 2009, an 85% increase from the 2006 study.
    • Almost half (46%) of those were children under the age of 18
    • 74% of households lived below the federal poverty line, defined as $22,050 annually for a family of four.
    • 77% of households experienced food insecurity.

Maricopa County Statistics

  • More than 623,300 (16.5%) people live in poverty.
  • 26% of those living in poverty are children!
  • Nearly 1,138,000 (29%) are “working poor.”
  • Respondents to a Maricopa Association of Governments survey listed FOOD as their major need!
  • Food assistance requests are one of the most often received calls at 2-1-1 Arizona.


Boxes of food

So What does the United Food Bank do to help out those in hunger?

Highlights of Fiscal Year ‘11/’12 (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012)

Food Distribution
We distributed 19,801,662 lbs. of food and grocery items (19,518,282 lbs. to 257
Community Partner Agencies/Sites & shared 283,380 lbs. with 5 sister food banks)

— Total Distributed food provided more than 16,501,300 meals – over 45,200 meals daily (365 days/year)
— 61% (12,084,030 lbs.) of all the food we distributed through partner agencies went to 151 partners in the East Valley & Maricopa
–During the year through our “Mobile Pantries” we made 1,555 distributions (an average of 130 distributions monthly) providing fresh produce and other food. More than 269,600 people were assisted.
— In our 30 year history (since 1983) we’ve distributed 257,659,895 pounds of food – food enough for 214,716,579 meals

–During an average workday our warehouse processed more than 80 tons of food
— For each $1 of expenses we can distribute 5.62 lbs. of food worth $9.04 – enough to provide 4.68 meals
— 4,764 volunteers (1,390 unduplicated) provided more than 51,300 hours of work – equivalent to 24.7 paid staff

SP Group Shot

INSPIRE was grateful to volunteer and be a part of the hunger solution!  So what did our dent in the fight for ending hunger look like. We sorted 4266 lbs. of food, Made 3,047 meals, and that comes out to about 169 meals per volunteer!