Interfaith Prayer Breakfast

roots.jpgLet Us Take Faithful Steps to Reduce Hunger and Create a Food Secure Community: an interfaith prayer breakfast.”
The faith community has always been in the forefront of the fight to end hunger.
Please join us as we consider the consequences of hunger and food insecurity for Pima County and talk about long-term solutions that will lead to a food secure community–when all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient food for a healthy life.
Invitations will be sent the beginning of May.
For more information or to make a reservation to attend this free breakfast, contact Kitty Ufford Chase, Faith Community Coordinator, Community Food Bank.

(520) 622-0525 ext 251

Self-reliance, Health, Consumer Knowledge, Agriculture, Community Collaboration, Sustainablity=Community Food Security

cfsarticlephoto.jpgAt the Community Food Bank many of our programs focus on filling the food gap. We work hard at making sure that everyone has the food they need, when they need it. Community food security is when there are no gaps to fill.
Our purpose at the Community Food Bank is not only to alleviate hunger, but to end hunger. Community food security—when all people at all times have economic and physical access to sufficient food for a healthy life—is the best hope for ending hunger. Our Community Food Security Center is implementing programs of self-reliance, consumer education, agriculture, community collaboration and sustainability to eliminate the gaps for everyone.
 These are some of the elements of a food-secure community:
• Enough free or affordable sources of food to eliminate anyone’s worry about where the next meal will come from;
• Resources that allow people to build their abilities to provide their own food are easily accessed;
• Everyone, regardless of income, is able to access healthy food;
• The community assures the opportunity to earn a living wage;
• Consumers understand where their food comes from and can make educated choices with regard to food and health;
• Sustainable small and large-scale farming demonstrates a productive, working landscape.

Highlights of the Community Food Security Center
The Community Food Security Center strives to end hunger through economic literacy, advocacy, farmers’ markets, gleaning and gardening instruction programs. The Community Food Security Center works with community partners such as faith communities, nonprofit organizations, elected and government officials, local food producers and academic institutions. Work is centered on addressing food system issues and building partnerships for community food security.

Advocacy Advocacy
for our clients begins at first contact. Many need to apply for formal government programs like WIC (Women, Infants and Children) or Food Plus; others simply need an emergency food box to get them through a rough patch. CFB’s advocates counsel people and find the best way to help them, with a focus on self-sufficiency.

Education Economic literacy
goes hand-in-hand with advocacy. Classes help families learn about household economics, food programs and family food security. Classes teach people to take control of their finances and understand them in a new light.

Gardening Instruction
CFB manages a 7,000-square-foot demonstration garden. Natural gardening workshops in English and Spanish are open to everyone. In addition, we provide home gardening technical assistance to low-income families. Opportunities for home gardeners and small farmers to sell their produce at the farmers’ markets are available.

Picking excess produce from local farms and homes for distribution at CFB conserves resources and increases the nutritional value of the food CFB distributes. Gleaning at CFB is a volunteer-run program that, in 2006, provided  65,000 pounds of fresh fruit.

Farmers’ Markets & Sustainable Farming
Why a farm? The answer is obvious: farms grow food, we provide food, it’s a clear match. Planting a farm and working with local farmers to provide locally grown food allows us to provide healthy food. In addition, local farms are good for the local economy; purchasing local products keeps money in the community. Farmers’ markets provide direct access to nutritious, locally grown food, support local farmers and provide a weekly venue to build community.

Seven reasons to visit your local farmers’ market:

  • scrfm-logo-bw.jpgEating food grown locally means more for the local economy. According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.
  • Locally grown produce is fresher. While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmers’ market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. This freshness not only improves the taste of your food, but also the nutritional value, which declines with time.
  • Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen. Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be picked well before it is ripe to stand up to the rigors of shipping.
  • Eating locally grown food is better for air quality and pollution. In a March 2005 study by Food Policy, it was found that the miles that food often travels to our plate create environmental damage; this includes organic food.
  • Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.
  • Supporting local providers supports responsible land development. When you buy locally grown food, you give those with local open space—farms and pastures—an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.
  • Local food keeps your taxes in check. Unlike suburban developments, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services. On average, for every $1 suburban developments produce in revenue, they require $1.17 in services.

To learn more about CFB’s farmers’ markets click here. For a list of other local farmers’ markets, check the Arizona Daily Star or search on

Seri Melaka Finds a Creative Way to Serve

serimelakafood.jpgEveryone should be able to experience Malaysian food; beyond that, everyone should be able to go out for a special meal. This is how the team at Seri Melaka Restaurant feels. Every year Seri Melaka invites a variety of Tucson’s Table agencies whose needs are supported by the Community Food Bank to bring their clients to experience Malaysian cuisine.

The arrangement began in 2001 when restaurant owner and manager Chris Yap wanted to find a way to make a donation to the Community Food Bank. Unfortunately, the sampler style by which Seri Melaka serves its food prevents CFB from being able to accept any leftover food from the restaurant. Food accepted by Tucson’s Table—CFB’s food rescue program—can be fresh, packaged or frozen food from grocery stores and distributors; it can even be prepared food, but it cannot have been served. This important restriction from the health department ensures that all of the food CFB distributes is safe.

Lei Florentino, Manager of Food Procurement and Tucson’s Table, and Chris were able to come up with an alternate solution. He chose to invite each agency to bring the people they served to Seri Melaka to experience Malaysian food. Since 2001, any Saturday between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, agencies have been able to bring 10 to 12 of their clients to Seri Melaka for a meal. Clients learn about Malaysian culture, history and geography while sampling a variety of dishes from the country.

“They are all asking ‘When is Christmas coming?’” said Pastor Marvin Warrior of Covenant Christian Ministry in Marana. His clients can’t wait for their holiday meal at Seri Melaka. Pastor Warrior runs a ranch for people with physical and mental disabilities. He has several newer residents, but some who have been with him for twenty years. Pastor Warrior does a lot of work with CFB and works with the branch in Marana. “This is the first time we all ate together in ten years, together as a group,” he said excitedly. He is very proud of how well his group did in a restaurant setting and hopes to repeat the experience this coming holiday season.

“All the clients seem to enjoy themselves….it’s very rewarding to us,” said owner Chris Yap. Seeing the clients enjoy their lunches and listening to them discuss the sweet and spicy flavors is part of what he likes about the program. Reaching out to the clients during the holiday season is also a key factor for Chris. He continues to work with Lei to provide these holiday meals within CFB’s network of agencies because he knows the food is going to people who really appreciate it.

“Chris remembers the people we serve, they are delighted and we are grateful,” said Lei about what is admittedly one of her favorite programs. Most donors make their gift through one of the programs rather than working directly with their clients. Seri Melaka is the only donor who chooses to make their gift this way. “People from the agencies love it. The one thing that I hear over and over again is that they are served with respect.”

Nourishing News


Click here to download the latest version of the Nourishing News Newsletter!

 Write a letter to the editor

Food for Fines Week at the Pima County Public Library

library.gifBring your non-perishable food items to the Pima County Public Library branches and receive up to $10 off your overdue book fines during National Library Week, April 15-21, 2007.

With the Food for Fines program, for every food item you donate, $1 in overdue fines will be waived, up to $10 per library card. You will be asked to fill out a food donation form and return it to the customer service desk.

You must bring your library card and food donations to the library’s 24 locations. The Woods Memorial Library, which is closed for renovations April 13- 28, will participate the week of April 30-May 5. Customers of the Southwest Branch Library, which is also closed for renovations until mid-August, can take their donations to either the Mission or Valencia branch libraries to receive their waivers.

Food items will benefit the Community Food Bank, 3003 S. Country Club Rd., and its branch food banks in Ajo, Arivaca, Green Valley and Marana.

Customers can only give food donations to waive overdue fines, not lost or damaged items, and collection agency fees will not be waived.

The Food for Fines program encourages customers to return valuable materials that may otherwise be permanently lost to the library’s collections. In some cases, customers may be able to return to good standing so they can borrow more library materials.

There is a three day grace period on overdue items. After the grace period, fines are calculated from the due date to the date the item is returned or renewed. The daily fines for overdue books are:

  • 25 cents daily for adult materials and adult magazines.
  • 10 cents daily for juvenile and young adult materials, adult paperbacks, youth magazines, youth paperbacks and youth fotonovelas.

All items, except 7-day books and items with holds, can be renewed on-line at, by phone at (520) 903-2865 or (520) 903-2866, or at any branch library. Book drops for returning materials are also available at all library branches 24-hours a day.

University of Arizona Spring Fling to Benefit Community Food Bank

Donate Now to the UA4Food Virtual Food Drive! 

The University of Arizona’s 2007 Spring Fling will again benefit the Community Food Bank.  The partnership with Spring Fling is part of the campus wide UA4 Food drive that brings together faculty, staff and students to raise money and food for the Community Food Bank Snak Pak for Kids ™ program.

The UA Spring Fling is the largest student run carnival in the nation.  It is meant to raisespringfling2007.gif money for student clubs, organizations, events, and service work, but also benefits the Tucson community.  Again this year, it will aid the Community Food Bank Snak Pak for Kids ™ program.  The Snak Pak program offers nutritious food to elementary school students for weekends and offers a lesson in nutrition to the children and their parents. The Community Food Bank currently serves over 425 children through the Snak Pak program.

Attendees at this year’s Spring Fling, on April 12 through the 13, 2007, can combine fun and philanthropy.  A donation of a box of cereal or jar of peanut butter will reduce their Spring Fling wrist band purchase by $5.   

“The partnership between Spring Fling and the Community Food Bank was a great success for both organizations last year, proving to be one of the largest food drives within the UA4 Food program.  We look to have the same success for this year’s event and hope to increase donations for the $5 discount on wristbands,” stated Alex Manuel, Spring Fling Executive Director.

For further information, contact Jack Parris at 622-0525 x 215.