Nogales Branch Finds a New Home
The recent purchase of a building to house the Nogales Community Food Bank is a big step forward for the fight against hunger in Southern Arizona. The Nogales area is dense with a diverse population and, like Tucson, many of its people are at serious risk for hunger. While there are charitable services in the Nogales area, many of its people were not finding all of the help they needed until the Community Food Bank decided to strengthen its presence in the community. The Nogales branch, established a few years ago, was welcomed by those in need. Today the impact of the Nogales branch is irrefutable. Last year it distributed more than 20,000 food boxes to 11,855 people in need of emergency food assistance. This is in addition to its other food assistance programs.
Another great benefit of having a branch in Nogales is the relationships it allows us to build with area food donors. About 40% of the fruits and vegetables that enter the U.S. from Mexico are shipped through the Nogales port of entry. Many of our donors in the Nogales area are part of the produce industry. They donate through the food bank, often in such high quantity that the produce is shared locally with other charities, then shipped throughout Southern Arizona and the rest of the state to nonprofits that can use it before it spoils.
The purchase of a new warehouse for the Nogales branch allows us to make an even greater contribution to the community. “Now being able to have a place we can call our own, we can only move forward,” said Exectuive Director Arthur Espinoza. “We will definitely be more accessible to our clients.” The current warehouse lacks wheelchair ramps, as well as a heating and cooling system. This, coupled with the current buyers’ market, led the food bank to choose not to renew the rental contract in its current location and buy a larger, more suitable building. The move is planned for this summer, after some renovations.