The Nogales Community Food Bank is made up of a group of community volunteers and staff who work together to keep the people of this community fed and healthy. More than 9,000 people and a staggering 2,535 homes throughout Santa Cruz County are provided with help on a monthly basis. What started out as a simple operation out of Executive Director Arthur Espinoza’s pick up truck has transformed into one of the largest centers dedicated to helping people in the community at their newly acquired facility located at 2636 Donna Avenue in Nogales, Arizona.
The Nogales Community Food Bank receives donations from 476 local produce firms, an affiliate of the Community Food Bank in Tucson and is Arizona certified with Feeding America. All that’s needed to apply for the program is an Arizona ID and a proof of a utility bill. The program is allowed to donate one box of food per month but they work with families who are in dire need to provide them with additional assistance. “The facilities are top notch and recently renovated. We want people to feel like this is Christmas ever month and when they come in, we wanted a place where people felt dignified and comfortable as if they were at their local grocery store,” said Espinoza about the facility.
How is it that the Nogales Community Food Bank can provide all that food? The crew of the Food Bank vehicles, which also includes a brand new hybrid electric/diesel refrigerated truck, not only brings food to Nogales but also distributes shipments around the state. With all this food being distributed, the bank also tries to provide assistance by working with other programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program). “The first step in the process to receive the SNAP program is the application process and at the Food Bank, you can come by and receive assistance with filling out the online application,” says Jeff Upton, SNAP Application Assistant for the Tucson Community Food Bank.
With everything that the Nogales Community Food Bank has going on, it still finds time to reach out to the community. For example, for the past two Fourth of July celebrations, the Food Bank has donated Pepsi sodas to members of the community. “With a group of staff and volunteers that are focused, enthusiastic and centered on our goal, we can provide people with this service. That is the Nogales Community Food Bank in a nutshell,” said Espinoza.
For more information on the Nogales Community Food Bank, call Arthur Espinoza at (520) 281-2790.
The hours of operation are:
Food Plus Clients and TEFAP Food Box Clients: Tuesdays through Fridays: 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and the first Saturday of the month from 9:00 am to 12 noon. Closed on Mondays. Business hours: 9:30am- 6:00pm Tuesdays through FridaysDrop Off Donations: 9:30am – 1:30pm Tuesdays through Fridays, and the first Saturday of the month from 9:00 am to 12 noon. For large donations, please call Arthur Espinoza at (520) 982-2554 Monday through Saturday 9:00 am through 10:00 pm.