YUMA, Ariz. - Consumers may not realize it, but oftentimes we take our easy access to fruits and vegetables for granted.
For those who struggle to put food on the table, many turn to the Yuma Community Food Bank for help.
In today’s Home Grown, we will learn how the food bank and farmers work together to ensure everyone has access to healthy fruits and veggies.
As Yumans, we are lucky to live in a very agriculturally dense community.
Because of this, farmers are able to give back to the community and donate some of their produce to the Yuma Community Food Bank.
“Seasonally, we receive over six to 10,000,000 pounds of donated fresh produce right out of the field,” said Shara Whitehead, president, and CEO of Yuma Community Food Bank.
According to Whitehead, over 35 percent of Yuma families have food insecurity.
As a result, the food bank strives to provide meals that are nutritious.
“Of that number 20%, are the children. And that’s where our biggest concern is, is trying to make sure that the families that have children, we are able to provide them with some of that nutrition especially when they are coming to us because they are in need,” said Whitehead.
By donating produce to the food bank, farmers can know they are reducing the number of crops wasted and that they are doing good for the community.
Most commonly, the crops that are donated are, “Well lettuce is what we are known for in Yuma, but besides that, we also receive celery, cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes, it’s a nice variety and it’s nutritionally rich.”
When asking Whitehead why she enjoys helping those in need, she said it’s just simply the right thing to do.
“It is exciting because we have roughly 200,000 people in the county, and over 100,000 of them live right here in Yuma. So you want to take a third of that and that’s where your insecurity lies is right here, so we are in the right place to do the right thing with the right people,” said Whitehead.
If you are a farmer and would like to contribute to the Yuma County Food Bank, you can contact Bruce Gwynn at email@example.com or contact Whitehead at 928 259 2203.
You can also volunteer at the Food Bank or donate financially by filling out the application on their website.