Fry’s Gives $5,000 to AJ Food Bank

Food Bank also calls for volunteers

Fry’s Food Stores has announced a donation of $5,000 to the Apache Junction Food Bank, which was presented to them at the grand opening last Friday at its new Marketplace store, 150 E. Old West Highway.

“Feeding people is more than just our business, it’s our purpose,” said Fry’s Corporate Affairs Manager Pam Giannonatti in a statement. “Meals matter to our customers, but especially to those in need.”

In partnership with Feeding America, Fry’s helps organizations like the Food Bank fight hunger in our community.

Volunteers are needed

The Apache Junction Food Bank is on track again this year to provide food to nearly 40,000 area residents, but it needs more volunteers to do so. Data shows that it takes 3 volunteer hours to help each person given food by the Food Bank, and so far this year, volunteers have donated 10,488 hours.

For 34 years, the organization has been run by hundreds of different volunteers. Some of the approximate 75 volunteers there now have been with the Food Bank for over 15 years.

“Volunteering here is fabulous,” said Donna Maruta-Pyper, a volunteer of about 18 months. “It is a fun team and it is such a good way to give back to the community.”

“It’s fun,” echoed three-year volunteer Gale Pence. “It is fun being with the other volunteers, and it is really about helping people – helping those in need. It is all about the mission.”

In the first nine months of 2017, just over 342,000 meals have been provided and benefited almost 2,000 children, ages 0 to 17. The Food Bank has experienced growth in its senior segment by 12% and expects to have helped feed more than 6,700 seniors ages 60 and over by year’s end.

“Our families, a majority of which are Apache Junction, Mesa and Gold Canyon, Arizona residents, can receive food for 3 to 5 days each calendar month to help make ends meet,” explained Executive Director JoElle “Jo” Hurns. “The food we gather from a dozen local stores weekly, from the USDA program and from donations from area businesses, churches, RV parks and residents create healthy meal options. These donations allow us to give fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy products, breads, juices and non-perishables to our clients.”

Warehouse volunteers are especially needed for morning shifts right now, including Saturdays. Warehouse volunteers do enjoy some physical activity, and they are mostly on their feet and able to do some moderate lifting. Office volunteers are also needed, and those are afternoons only shifts.

Office volunteers are trained on the simple PantryTrak client database and usually sit for the duration of the shift. Good customer service skills are needed from all the volunteers.

Available shifts are:

Mondays
8 am to noon
1 pm to 5 pm

Tuesdays
8 am to noon
1 pm to 5 pm

Wednesdays
8 am to noon

Thursdays
8 am to noon
1 pm to 5 pm

Fridays
8 am to noon
1 pm to 5 pm

Saturdays
8 am to noon

To become a volunteer, log onto www.ajfoodbank.org and fill out a short form under the volunteer button on the home page. You will be sent a packet of information to read and sign.

Orientations are set up every other Wednesday at 9 a.m., but the staff can also make other arrangements for volunteers not able to attend at that time. Volunteer packets, which include all the information a new volunteer may need, are also available at the Food Bank during the same hours listed above.

Volunteers can work weekly, twice a month, monthly or whenever their schedules allow. For more information, contact “Jo” Hurns at the AJ Food Bank at 480-983-2995.

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