In August 2012 the Interfaith Community Services Food Bank assisted more than 1,900 households. With fall and the holidays approaching, the number of people turning to the ICS Food Bank is expected to grow significantly.
The 6th annual community-wide “Bag-A-Thon” food drive, sponsored by Edward Jones, has set a goal to collect 50,000 pounds to help ICS meet the needs of hungry families in Pima County this holiday season. The food drive, the largest of the year for ICS, will run from Oct. 3 through Nov. 3.
Twenty-one Edward Jones offices, 19 schools, Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, several Cub Scout and American Heritage Girls troops, local businesses, the Town of Oro Valley, and the community-at-large will come together for the drive. The Bag-A-Thon culminates on Nov. 3 with a final collection event and breakfast at the Edward Jones office at 10355 N. La Canada in Oro Valley.
Non-perishable food items may be dropped at Edward Jones offices in Tucson and Oro Valley; a complete list of drop-off locations is available at www.icstucson.org. Most needed items include pasta and canned sauce; cereal;14-28 oz jars of peanut butter; canned meats, meals and soups; cake and dessert mixes; and boxed stuffing and instant potatoes.
In 2011, the Bag-A-Thon collected over 42,000 pounds of food. In addition to its regular emergency food items, the donations helped ICS distribute nearly 2,000 holiday food bags to give hungry families a meal with which to celebrate the season. If this year’s goal! is reached, the Edward Jones Bag-A-Thon will have raised over 135,000 pounds of food for the ICS Food Bank since 2007.
Bonnie Kampa, Executive Director at ICS, remarked, “Since we opened our expanded Food Bank last fall, the number of people turning to ICS for food assistance has nearly doubled. Right now the shelves are pretty bare. The Bag-A-Thon is essential to give ICS the resources we need to help the many households in our community that struggle to put food on the table.” Last fiscal year the ICS Food Bank served nearly 16,000 individuals.
Ken Blanchard, a financial advisor for Edward Jones and an ICS board member, is the founder and organizer of the annual food drive.
“It’s important to give back to the community you live in,” said Blanchard. “We’ll keep doing this event until there is no one waiting in line.”
According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 Pima County residents have difficulty obtaining enough food. The food insecurity rates even worse for Pima County children: more than 26 percent struggle with hunger. The ICS Food Bank is a pantry of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
About ICS: ICS provides food, job assistance, and emergency financial assistance to Pima County residents in need and mobilizes volunteers to assist seniors and disabled individuals with Mobile Meals, transportation, home repairs, calls and visits, and health and safety referrals. ICS offers compassionate support by connecting over 600 volunteers and 67 faith communities with our community’s most vulnerable residents. From nutritious food to health evaluations to a ride to the doctor’s office, ICS assists nearly 25,500 people a year. ICS has received Charity Navigator’s highest four-star rating three years in a row for its fiscal responsibility and best practices.