8/26/2013 12:37:00 PM Yavapai Food Neighbors Project off to great start Donors contribute nearly 1,500 pounds for local hungry
Generous food donations from throughout theVillage/Big Park and Sedona fill the bright green bags of the first Yavapai Food Neighbors Project Collection Day on Aug. 17. The innovative neighbor-to-neighbor volunteer plan expects to relieve the growing hunger problem in our community, as it has in many others. Photos by Pam Taylor.
Working hard but happily at the Aug. 17 Yavapai Food Neighbors Project collection kick off, young Leah Pedersen helps Pine Valley resident, Julie Grady, stock the shelves at the Sedona YMCA’s new Youth Food Pantry. Project donations to the Pantry will provide food options for hungry kids from the Village/BigPark/ Sedona Community in after-school programs. Photos by Pam Taylor.
By Gail Shaw Simpson Special to The Villager
If you wondered why those bright green bags were sitting on quite a few Village/Big Park neighbors' doorsteps on a recent August morning, you were witnessing something very special, the inaugural Collection Day for the new Yavapai Food Neighbors Project.
Local research confirms the stunning reality that 1 out of 4 adults in this very community is "food insecure" and 1 out of 3 children do not know where his or her next meal is coming from. Sedona-area churches and organizations have worked diligently and generously to sustain community food programs for many years, but our hunger problem continues to worsen. It is believed by many, that now it's imperative to do MORE.
The newly launched Yavapai Food Neighbors Project is a food-collection program with a simple, yet effective plan that is now helping many other communities keep their Food Banks filled at all times.
So, on Saturday, Aug. 17, those bright green bags, filled to the brim with thoughtful food items from more than 43 Village/Big Park donors, were picked up by a team of enthusiastic volunteer coordinators who then delivered them to another team waiting at the Sedona YMCA. There the bags were weighed and food sorted and stocked onto the waiting shelves of the Y's new Youth Pantry, which will be providing food options for hungry kids from the Village/Big Park/Sedona Community at its after-school programs.
The Yavapai Food Neighbors Project was flexing its wings with this 4-week pilot program. After this, collections will happen every other month ... just 6 times a year ... perpetually filling the Community Food Banks and aiding additional local hunger programs.
Volunteer "Neighborhood Coordinators" living in Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek are now contacting friends, neighbors and colleagues to become volunteer "Donors." The only requirement is an extra imperishable item or two from each trip to the grocery store, put into a bright green Project bag kept at home ... and placed on the doorstep for pick-up by their Coordinator on a specified date ... with reminders. That's all there is to it!
The next Collection Day is scheduled for Oct. 12, the second Saturday of every other month (as always). As the word spreads and as participation grows, there is no doubt that the friends and neighbors in this special community will make even MORE of a difference!
In an effort to keep all their ducks in order as the neighbor-to-neighbor Project expands, the Yavapai Food Council is encouraging all to visit their website at www.yavapaifoodcouncil.org for accurate and up-to-date information. Be SURE to sign up for the all-important Yavapai Food Neighbors Project Newsletter ... and don't miss watching the brief video about the Project. The website is also the easiest place to register as a Neighborhood Coordinator or Donor.
Are you interested in coordinating your own neighborhood with the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project?
Your "neighborhood" does not even have to be geographical: How about your church or book group, office or just a group of friends? Just sign up at www.yavapaifoodcouncil.org, and they will get back to you.
Are you interested in being a "Donor" in your neighborhood? Again, please contact the website and they'll connect you with a coordinator in your neighborhood.
In addition, VOC Coordinator Gail Simpson will be delighted to answer your questions at 284-9720 ... and "Like us on Facebook" - www.facebook.com/yavapaifoodcouncil
643 pounds of food collected
47 Neighborhood Donors signed up / 43 bags collected
Additional results of interest:
Total pounds of Food Collected at pilot event: 1463
Total number of Bags Collected at pilot event: 101
Total number of Donors in pilot Yavapai Food Neighbors Project: 114
Total number of Coordinators in pilot Yavapai Food Neighbors Project: 6
8 New Neighborhood Coordinators signed up at the event