We have great news for people who live in Picture Rocks, Avra Valley and the surrounding areas: you can now pick up food once a month at a mobile distribution site near you. For the first time last month, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (CFB, for short) turned the parking lots of Picture Rocks Park and the Avra Valley Fire District Station #191 into drive-thru food banks for three hours.
On separate sunny Wednesday afternoons, we trucked in a load of food supplies, and volunteers manned stations under pop-up tents while staff checked clients in from their driver-side windows, scrawling numbers on their windshields before waving them forward. As cars rolled through each station, those numbers helped volunteers figure out what food items and how much of each to load into clients’ vehicles—The Emergency Food Assistance Program (or TEFAP) boxes, fruits, veggies, non-perishables, proteins, etc. Once we loaded everything up, clients simply drove away. Mission accomplished. This will be a monthly occurrence every second Wednesday in Pictures Rocks and every third Wednesday in Avra Valley.
A Long Distance Away From Services
“Since moving to Marana, we haven’t been able to volunteer at the food bank as often. These new sites have made it more convenient for us to lend a hand again,” said longtime volunteer Theresa, who helps with her husband Nik. Picture Rocks and Avra Valley are rural communities on the northwestern outskirts of Tucson. Both are about a 45-minute drive from CFB headquarters. Picture Rocks borders the Saguaro National Monument, offering postcard views of the Sonoran Desert in almost any direction, while Avra Valley is plowed with rows of corn and cotton as far as the eye can see in some places. People who live here drive great distances to shop and access services. Our research shows that many were making the long trip to the Marana Resource Center to receive food. This is what inspired the decision to bring emergency food distributions closer to folks who live in these areas.
Meeting people where they are
“We will continue to meet people where they are with these new food pickups,” says Malea Chavez, CEO of the Community Food Bank. In fact, CFB operates about 20 similar mobile distributions in rural locations across Southern Arizona each month. Mobile distribution not only makes it easier for people to access much-needed food, it allows more people in need to find it. Last month in Picture Rocks, we served 43 households (16 of which were new clients). In Avra Valley we served 36 households (8 of which were new clients). We anticipate that these numbers will grow with time as awareness spreads. Overall, CFB has seen an increase in need of 25% since June. An upward trend in these areas is likely.
This month, distribution in Picture Rocks will take place on December 13th from 1pm-4pm at Picture Rocks Park (5615 N Sanders Rd, Tucson, AZ) and every second Wednesday thereafter. On December 20th, mobile distribution will take place at the Avra Valley Fire District Station #191 (15790 W Silverbell Rd, Marana, AZ) from 1pm-4pm, and every third Wednesday thereafter. Anyone in need of emergency food is welcome. The only thing clients are asked to provide is a photo ID.
Visit our website to find food near you.
Take a sneak peek at what food items we typically offer.