Imagine having your hungry children crying and begging for breakfast but you have nothing to feed them. In the United States, one of the richest countries on Earth, this shouldn’t happen. However, food insecurity and hunger are very real for 1,518 people, including 426 children and 305 seniors living in Mammoth, San Manuel, and Oracle. Many in these communities are very poor, with 20% of households living below the poverty level and 10% below 50% of the poverty level. In addition to lacking money, they live in a “food desert” where they must drive at least 28 miles to reach a grocery store.
Between Feb. 20 and March 20, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) will gather donations to support the Tri-Community Food Bank (TCFB) based in Mammoth. TCFB gives 515 households emergency food. Each emergency food box provides nine family meals. Hunger has worsened during the pandemic. Paychecks have been reduced or eliminated and remote learning means many children no longer receive breakfast and lunch at school. Now local children go hungry three- to five-days each month. Children need good nutrition to grow, thrive, and do well in school, so TCFB is now stretching to provide 60 families with a second monthly emergency food box.
SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch residents collaborate on the annual SBCO Food Drive to meet a local need. Usually, it is an opportunity for residents to donate canned and packaged foods that are then gathered, sorted, and delivered to TCFB by an enthusiastic group of volunteers. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2021 Food Drive will again be limited to monetary contributions made online or with checks. We hope in 2022 to be able to experience the camaraderie and community spirit associated with donations of food in addition to money.
To make a monetary donation, you can write a check or make a donation online using a credit card. Make your check payable to “SBCO Food Drive” and write your unit number on the memo line. You can either mail or deliver it to SBCO, 63675 E. SaddleBrooke Blvd., Ste. L, Tucson, AZ 85739. Donations can be made on their website www.community-outreach.org. You don’t need a PayPal account to make an online donation.
All monetary contributions go directly to grocery purchases and related expenses. SBCO and TCFB are all-volunteer organizations and are IRS 501(c)(3) and AZ non-profit charitable organizations, so donations made to these organizations are tax deductible. Please give generously so no child goes to bed hungry.
If you would like to volunteer for the food drive or have questions about this event, please contact Andrea Stephens in SaddleBrooke at [email protected] or 616-901-6893 or Bob Wample in SaddleBrooke Ranch at [email protected] or 559-696-3769.