Demand nearly drains food bank - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Demand nearly drains food bank

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Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 1:00 pm

Jeanette Barrett almost cried last week when she noticed just how depleted the food supply is at the Valley View Community Food Bank.

“It’s a sign of the times, and everyone needs to get involved to help out,” said Barrett, a Sun Citian who volunteers her time at the food bank in Youngtown.

Jesse Ramirez, food bank executive director, said Valley View is running out of food and monetary donations due to the high demand this summer.

“We were feeding up to 400 people a day from our area and even from Phoenix,” Ramirez said. “I made the decision to only accept people from our community until we get through this.”

Ramirez said the food bank has enough surplus to last for approximately a week and a half.

Last weekend, Valley View had more than 3,900 pounds of food donations but gave out more than 9,700 pounds, which included items already at the bank.

“It’s just tough on us, and we’re doing the best to make it through,” Ramirez said.

In addition to food, monetary donations have been at an all-time low as well. Any funds used are to help pay rent for the building and fuel to transport items.

“This is crucial for us, and we really want the community to reach out and help us if they can,” Ramirez said.

If the food bank doesn’t receive enough donations, Ramirez said he’ll shift his strategy of giving out products.

“I won’t close these doors, I’ll do whatever I have to do to keep them open,” he said.

He said he has plenty of liquids available and will hand out “hydration” boxes, if food is unavailable.

Lack of funds also has forced Valley View to place an indefinite hold on a proposed restaurant at the old Tequila Wily’s at 13232 N. 111th Ave. in Youngtown.

The food bank officials had planned to turn the building, also known as Ritter’s Chalet, into a cafe to benefit the organization.

“The equipment in the building is 30 years old, and the inspector said it all needs to be replaced, and we don’t have the funds,” he said. “We will probably use it as warehouse space right now, until we can get everything that we need.”

For more information or to donate to the food bank at 11115 West Nevada Ave. in Youngtown, call 623-933-3358.

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