Supplies Are Down, Area Food Drive Kicks Off Today

With demand up, food banks ask for help again

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With food banks around the country strained, local food banks are seeing their supplies cut. In Payson, the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank has not received a shipment of meat for months. Organizers are making due with donations, but often scramble to put together a balanced food box.

With demand remaining high and thousands of people already needing food boxes every quarter, food bank managers say they need help.

So for the third year, the Payson Area Food Drive (PAFD) is collecting food and donations through Super Bowl Sunday to help carry local food banks through the tough months. The drive starts today, Nov. 1, with food collection boxes at area supermarkets, businesses, restaurants and the Payson Roundup.

Last year, 50,000 pounds and $27,000 was collected and in 2009, more than $20,000 and 50,000 pounds of food was donated, enough to keep the shelves at food banks stocked through mid December.

This year, organizers have set their highest goal yet, hoping to collect 55,000 pounds of food and $30,000 by Feb. 5.

“We had to raise them because of the increased demand,” said PAFD chair Roger Kreimeyer.

St. Vincent food bank manager

Michael Haynes said demand has been consistent at about 2,000 boxes for 5,500 people each quarter.

However, food supplies from the United Food Bank and St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank in the Valley have decreased. St. Vincent relies heavily on these distributors for food, normally receiving large shipments of canned goods, dairy and meat at a fraction of the retail cost. With food banks across the state experiencing higher demand, supplies have been cut.

Last year, $32,000 raised during the PAFD went to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank.

“These funds have been instrumental in providing perishable and staple foods to meet demand,” Kreimeyer said.

At Community Presbyterian Church Food Bank demand is about one-third that at St. Vincent de Paul, but volunteers are also seeing an increased demand, said Pastor Chuck Proudfoot.

“Conclusion: The food banks are facing a serious reduction unless there is another food drive by PAFD,” Kreimeyer said. “Our goal: No hungry families in Payson in 2012.”

Drop off donations at any PAFD marked collection box. Food banks need food as well as toiletries and cat and dog food. Game meat that is wrapped and frozen is accepted, however, drop those donations directly off at the food banks. St. Vincent de Paul is located at 511 S. St. Phillips St. and Community Presbyterian Church is at 800 W. Main St.

Monetary donations to St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank may be mailed to P.O. Box 1317, Payson, AZ 85547.

PAFD will have a collection booth at the Nov. 5 Health and Care Fair held in the gym at Julia Randall Elementary School from 8 a.m. to noon.

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