Summer months tough for food banks - Tucson News Now

Summer months tough for food banks

The Tucson Food Bank says it's about 1.3 million pounds lighter than it was at this time last year.

Food donations are down and demand has increased.

"Our demand is up about 6%," says Jack Parris, the public relations manager for the Community Food Bank.

That translates into about 9,000 more families looking for assistance.

And in the summer months, things will get worse.

"We do okay during the fall months and for the rest of the year we don't do that well," Parris says. "So summer months are really tough for us."

The food bank provides food for 32,000 families of month.

Things are equally tough, if not a bit more so, for the Vail Community Food Pantry.

It was started just 15 months ago to fill a growing need in the small town Southeast of Tucson.

"Our demand is getting bigger and our supply is getting smaller," says Tony Lawless, the director of the food bank.

As of last Saturday, there were only two cans of food on the shelves in the rented space which serves as a storeroom.

But a food drive on Saturday, brought in about 10,000 pounds in three and a half hours.

"That might get us through a few weeks," says Lawless.

But the pantry is having a hard time keeping up.

It relies solely on the charity of churches, schools and public donations. Sometimes that can be hit or miss.

"We're going to need some help," he says. I'd like to hook up with some of the bigger agencies."

Word of mouth has spread rapidly and he now hands out more than a hundred bags of food a week.

"I've lived here a longtime and people here are proud and don't like to ask for help even if they need it," he says.

But as the economy falters, more people are asking.

"We don't like to turn people away but its gotten to the point where we don't have anything to provide," Lawless says. "We will give until we have our last loaf of bread, we will give it to whomever asks for it."

The Vail Community Food Pantry lives month to month, trying not only to feed people, but to pay rent.

"We're broke on the second of every month because on the first we pay our bills,' he says. "So far we've been lucky."




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