Community Food Bank Launches Garden Mentor Program

The Community Food Bank’s Garden Mentor Program kicked-off with an orientation meeting on January 26 for 16 community members who have volunteered to work with a new gardener in their neighborhood.

“We spent the day getting to know each other, doing activities and role plays, and discussing our vision for the program and the network we will be creating,” said Brook Bernini, Garden Promotion Organizer for the Food Bank. “In late February, we will be linking the Mentors with gardeners in our Home Garden Cooperative. Mentors have committed to working with a new gardener for one year, supporting them as they gain the skills necessary to grow their own food.”

The goal is to partner Mentors with someone in their neighborhood. At least once a month, Mentors are expected to call or visit the new gardener’s home to provide advice, tips or hands-on help. The Food Bank provides Mentors with training and orientation, garden materials, and ongoing support during the mentorship process.

The Garden Mentor Program is being established as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative to prevent or reduce obesity through increased opportunities for improved nutrition and physical activity. Administered by the Pima County Health Department, CPPW is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information about the program, please contact Brook Bernini at (520) 622-0525 x 267 or bbernini@communityfoodbank.org



Free Bike Tune-Ups at the Community Food Bank’s El Pueblo Farmers’ Market

Biking to work has often been promoted as a great way to exercise and be green, but it can also be a fun and family friendly activity if you are headed to El Pueblo Farmers’ Market. Last month El Pueblo Farmers’ Market held a “Get Fit” event to encourage children and adults alike to exercise while shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables, but on February 12th everyone is encouraged to get their exercise on the way to the market and receive a free bike tune up from Bicycle Inter-community Art and Salvage (BICAS) mechanics.

On Saturday, February 12th the El Pueblo Farmers’ Market is partnering with BICAS, to provide a bike friendly environment to local residents. In addition to the free tune-ups, there will also be an opportunity to make your own bike art, receive free bike maps, participate in a raffle for a free pink child’s bike and enjoy live music.  There will also be a variety of winter produce that includes sweet potatoes, peanuts, pecans, spinach, carrots, kale and a variety of citrus for sale.

All of the Community Food Bank Farmers’ Markets accept SNAP (food stamps), WIC checks, Arizona Farmers Market Nutrition vouchers, cash, credit and debit.  El Pueblo Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from 9 AM – 12 PM in the El Pueblo Adult Learning Center Parking lot, on the SW Corner of Irvington Road and South 6th Ave.

The El Pueblo Farmers’ Market is part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative to prevent or reduce obesity through increased opportunities for improved nutrition and physical activity. Led by the Pima County Health Department, CPPW is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



Community Food Bank Urges Support of the “Pound for Pound Challenge” in Southern Arizona

The Community Food Bank is urging Southern Arizona residents to join the “Pound for Pound Challenge” to lose weight and help end hunger in our communities.

NBC’s “The Biggest Loser: Couples,” General Mills, Subway and Feeding America are partnering for the “Pound for Pound Challenge” to encourage Americans across the country to lose weight nationally and provide hunger relief locally.  For every pound Americans pledge to lose, a donation of 11 cents, equivalent to one pound of groceries, will be donated to Feeding America up to 9.4 million pounds of groceries.

The need is still great.  Recent U.S. Government data shows that over 23.4% of Tucsonans live below the Federal poverty level and lack consistent access to adequate amounts of nutritious food.

“This year’s Pound for Pound Challenge is a great way to give and get,” said Bill Carnegie, Community Food Bank President/CEO.  “Give away those excess pounds and help the Community Food Bank receive much needed donations.”

To join the “Challenge” people may visit www.pfpchallenge.com to enter their weight loss goals.  New this year, participants can enter by pledging to maintain their current weight.

The new season of “The Biggest Loser: Couples” can be seen on Tuesdays at 8:00 PM on NBC (locally on KVOA-TV, Channel 4).



The Marana Community Food Bank has Applied for a $26,700 USDA Development Grant

The Marana Community Food Bank has applied for a $26,700 USDA Rural Development grant for funding assistance to make improvements at the Food Bank.

Funding may be used to buy a new refrigerated box truck, pallet racks, a battery operated 3-wheeler forklift, a new walk-in refrigerator or freezer, and/or an additional computer and monitor. Funding could also be used to repair or replace portable refrigeration units or for remodeling expenses to reposition the concrete pad and ramp to allow for forklift access, improve telephone wiring, or removing temporary walls and cubicles inside the warehouse.

Residents of the local area will be able to learn more about the projects and discuss specific elements of the application at the monthly Board Member’s meeting on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 7:30 AM at the Marana Community Food Bank.

Residents may provide comments on such items as economic and environmental issues that may impact the area or discuss any alternatives to the proposed projects.

Additional information about this public meeting can be obtained by contacting Tony Bruno at (520) 622-0525 x 245 or by e-mail at tbruno@communityfoodbank.org.

The Community Food Bank in Tucson is the umbrella organization for the Marana Food Bank.



Join the Community Food Bank on Saturday, January 29th for Mardi Gras 2011

The Community Food Bank’s Mardi Gras 2011 will be held on Saturday, January 29th at the Manning House, 450 W. Paseo Redondo in downtown Tucson.  This year’s event is presented by Cox Communications.

Mardi Gras 2011 begins at 7:00 PM and will be led by the “King and Queen of Carnivale” Bobby & Debbie Rich.  The evening will feature New Orleans–style food, live entertainment by Batucaxe, Zo Carroll and the Soul Breakers, Arthur Migliazza and his band, Flam Chen and David Fitzsimmons!  All proceeds go to the food bank’s programs to help families struggling during these difficult economic times.

Tickets are $100 per person and are available at http://communityfoodbank.com/press-room/mardi-gras-2011/ or by calling (520) 622-0525 x 492.  Space is limited.

“It’s our fifth year of bringing a little bit of New Orleans to Tucson,” said Jennifer Casteix, Event Chair. “Come join us for a fun evening of music, entertainment and food.  It’s a night not to be missed.”

Carnivale Sponsors for Mardi Gras 2011 are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Tucson Medical Center; the Jackson Square sponsors are Citi and Comcast Cable; Krewe sponsors are Northern Trust and Snell & Wilmer, L.L.P.   Media Sponsors include Comcast Cable, Cox Communications, 93.7 KRQ Radio, KVOA-TV and Tucson Lifestyle Magazine.

For more information on the Community Food Bank’s Mardi Gras 2011, contact Jack Parris at (520) 622-0525 x 215.



Cox Communications Makes Holiday Donation To The Community Food Bank

On December 21, 2010, Cox Communications made a holiday donation to the Community Food Bank (CFB).  A total of 2,858 pounds of food and over $1,000 was donated at the CFB warehouse.  Pictured at the event are (from left to right) Pauline Hechler, CFB Chief Development Officer, Jeremy Thompson, Cox Communications, James Smith, Cox Communications, Todd Wilbanks, Cox Communications, Greg Kishi, CFB Board Member, Stephanie Porter, Cox Business & CFB Board Member and Dina Scalone-Romero, Cox Communications.

Cox Communications has been a major supporter of the Community Food Bank and we appreciate their generous donations during this holiday season.



University of Arizona Muslim Student’s Association Presents Community Food Bank with a Check

Ahmed Al-Agel from the University of Arizona Muslim Student’s Association presents Jack Parris, Community Food Bank Public Relations Manager with a check for $520 on December 22, 2010. The donation was from the UA Muslim Students Association “Fast-A-Thon” that was held November 15, 2010.

We wish to thank the UA Student Muslim Association for their continued support of the Community Food Bank.



Tucson Electric Power Corporate Accounting Department presented the Community Food Bank with a donation

Nancy Hughes from the Tucson Electric Power Corporate Accounting Department presented Jack Parris from the Community Food Bank with a donation of cash and checks totaling $440 on December 23, 2010.  The staff at the TEP Corporate Accounting Department decided that, rather than exchange gifts this year; they would donate the money to the Community Food Bank.

Thanks to the Tucson Electric Power Corporate Accounting Department for their generous donation.



NBC Story “Making a Difference: Just Trying to Help out in Tucson

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Fairy Tales and Fantasy Ballet and Food Drive

Friday, March 11, 7 pm. Pima West Proscenium Theater. Purchase tickets at alumni.byu.edu/tucsonballet
$12 Adults $10 Children.
Meet the performers at the Prince and Princess party
6:30 on stage, free with ticket purchase.
Bring a can of food for the Community Food Bank.