Beyond the food banks

West Valley churches extend organizations’ reach

Summer food drive
 The West Valley View’s annual summer food drive benefits the following sites:
 • Agua Fria Food & Clothing Bank, 405 E. Harrison St. in Avondale; 623-932-9135. Open 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.
 • Agua Fria Food & Clothing Bank Tonopah site, 36827 W. Indian School Road in Tonopah; 623-932-9135. Open 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
 • All Faith Community Services Buckeye Food Bank, 214 S. Fifth St. in Buckeye; 623-386-3513. Open 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
 • Tolleson Food Bank at The Bridge Community Church, 10 S. 93rd Ave. in Tolleson; 623-936-5199. Gives away food from 6 to 9 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday. A donation is requested.
 To see a list of locations where you can donate food, see Page 13 in today’s edition of the paper.
 If you donate directly to the food banks, let them know that you heard about the drive in the View so it’s counted toward this year’s total.

Food banks serve as a complement to people struggling to make ends meet. Those who go leave with a box of hope for the days ahead.

But for people who cannot travel to a food bank, their options are limited.

Or so one would think. Today, some local churches have partnered up with the Tolleson Food Bank in order to take food and other goods to people in the Valley.

There’s no qualifications other than people who need food,” Tolleson Assembly of God Pastor Mike Sims said. “We try to meet the needs of whoever needs food.”

Sims said the bank has partnered with local churches for more than 20 years. He said about eight churches go to the facility and donate about $200 each month in exchange for food. Volunteers then go out to the streets and distribute food to people.

We load ’em up,” Sims said. “Two days a week. There are a lot of different things because we don’t get the same things from donations. Whatever we have is what we give to the ministries.

Some of the churches head north into Peoria or west into Buckeye. The farthest east is near 19th Avenue.

Then there are times when someone takes dry goods such as flour or sugar south to Mexican churches. Sims said the bank does not receive those items often but when it does, a local ministry may cross the border to share with the churches there.

Different from the Tolleson bank, the Agua Fria Food & Clothing banks in Avondale and Tonopah do not package food for churches to take out into the community.

However, Leanne Leonard, executive director for the Agua Fria banks, said everything they do is to help the people in the southwest Valley.

Our biggest challenge is to let people know we are here,” Leonard said. “The best way to do that is being out in the community.”

Rather than distribute food out in the community, they communicate with schools, churches and other organizations that reach out to residents to let people know where to go for help.

The Agua Fria banks have a senior box program where seniors go in once a month to obtain certain commodities. The banks also provide holiday food boxes.

Leonard said the banks also partner with local churches, though not in the same capacity as in Tolleson.

They provide us with resources, monetary contributions and in time as volunteers,” Leonard said. “The churches support us and then we do the distribution. Some don’t have the availability at their church. We’re already here.”


Chris Caraveo can be reached at

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