United Food Bank assists Arizonans in food-insecure households
Nearly 34 million Americans are reported to be living in food-insecure households. Across the country, the problem of food insecurity continues to rise as inflation and food shortages have caused restaurants and grocers to increase their food prices.
The impact to some includes the ability to afford groceries on a regular basis. United Food Bank, a local food bank based in Mesa working to provide hunger relief to the people in the East Valley, has seen an increased need for food support that has grown tremendously in the past year.
According to Chariti Stern, the Chief Program Officer of United Food Bank, food insecurity is the “consistent lack of access to nutritional food.” Studies conducted by Feeding America show that one in ten people in Arizona live in a food-insecure household. Stern points to inflation and a lack of employment opportunities as two major catalysts for food insecurity. Another major factor that’s playing a big part is the rising costs of rent throughout the country.
“I think people are having to choose between paying their bills and getting food,” Stern said. Stern encourages citizens to help fight food insecurity wherever they can. Whether it’s donating non-perishable foods or volunteering time at a local food bank, any help is appreciated. Hosting a food drive is also a great way to get involved.
United Food Bank is also hosting a Hydration campaign during the summer months to make sure people have enough water, Stern said.
After working together in the past on food drives, Mesa City Council approved an agreement with United Food Bank to allocate $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funds over three years to help curtail food insecurity. Stern says the money will support the operations of United Food Bank as they work to help citizens in all aspects, not just limited to food.