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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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8/1/2013 3:14:00 PM
Yavapai Food Neighbors Project offers new approach to hunger relief
Here’s how you can help
Are you interested in coordinating your own neighborhood with the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project? The next coordinator and project informational meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 22, 6-7 p.m., at the Sedona YMCA.

Are you interested in being a donor in your neighborhood?

Please contact the Food Council we'll connect you with a coordinator in your neighborhood! (928) 593-0755 or visit www.YavapaiFoodCouncil.org/YavapaiFoodNeighborsProject for more information and videos on this project.


According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), in 2012 Arizona ranked as the 14 worst in the country for food hardship rate, up from the 15th worst in 2011. One in five Arizona households (20.9 percent) are now food insecure.  According to local research conducted by Cornucopia Community Advocates, in our community 1 out of 4 adults are food insecure and 1 out of 3 children to do not know where their next meal will come from.  

Although the Verde Valley is fortunate to have 14 emergency food agencies who provide help to hungry residents, these agencies are not immune to the challenges we all face as a result of a troubled economy.  The Yavapai Food Neighbors Project, a program introduced and administered by Yavapai Food Council (YFC), is a means of building community through a long-term "food donor drive".  It is simple and a great way to get involved - possibly the easiest volunteer work you will ever have!

This volunteer based program is simple:

Volunteer Neighborhood Coordinators (NC) bring a group of 15 to 20 people together to create his or her "Neighborhood".  These people are called "Neighborhood Donors" (ND) and may be a traditional neighbor that you live near, from a "work-place" or "association" neighborhood, or even wonderful people you connect with by tabling at the grocery store. Each neighbor is provided a reusable green bag  and is asked to buy a couple extra food items each time they go to shopping.  Then, on the second Saturday of every even month (Oct, Dec, Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug) the donors place their filled green bags at their door for the Neighborhood Coordinator to pickup and an empty bag is left in its place.

The food collected is then donated to community food banks, pantries, and hunger programs.  The flagship program in Ashland, OR (The Ashland Food Project) is responsible for communities on the West Coast collecting over 1 million pounds of food since 2009.  

"Yavapai Food Council is as thrilled to be working with the Ashland Food Project, as they are to have Yavapai County, Arizona involved!  The beauty of this project it's simplicity and the opportunity for members of our communities to volunteer and get involved with very little effort. Simply pick up a few extra items when you're grocery shopping, put them in your green bag at home and set that bag on your door step one Saturday morning (every other month).  How much easier can volunteering be?  We hope to collect as much as 10,000 pounds of food through the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project before the end of this year," said Amy Aossey, Executive Director of Yavapai Food Council

According to Aossey, the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project pilot collection was launched July 18 with volunteer Neighborhood Coordinators placed in Camp Verde, Sedona and VOC.  The pilot collection period will run for four weeks, in comparison to the normal collection period of two months.  

Donors in the pilot neighborhoods will place their green bags at their front door before 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, for Neighborhood Coordinators to pick up between 9 and 10 a.m.  The Neighborhood Coordinators will then take the bags to the Sedona YMCA between for weighing, sorting and delivery of the food collected.

Related Links:
• Yavapai Food Neighbors Video Link:


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