|The Serve Yavapai Team sorting donated food.|
This year, Serve Yavapai launched a county-wide food drive in honor of the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy and in recognition of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. We decided to run a food drive, because food insecurity is a major problem in Yavapai County. With Arizona’s child poverty rate now at 31% (second only to Mississippi as the highest in the states), it makes sense that food security programs have seen a tremendous increase in demand over the last two years. Open Door, for example, has seen an increase of 132% in meals they provide in just the last year. In Yavapai County, 28.4% of all children (age 18 and under) live below the poverty level, and in three schools within our county, more than 90% of students are on the free or reduced lunch program.
During the two weeks, over 20 food collection sites (see the full list of our community partners below!) across the county saw a consistent flow of food donations from local community volunteers. We also had fantastic participation from schools throughout the county. In Cottonwood, Mountain View Preparatory School received over 1,400 pounds of food and delivered it to the Old Town Mission in Cottonwood. In Prescott, over 100 students from Prescott High School, led by their Student Government, volunteered by donating over 350 pounds of food. We are excited to announce that a grand total of 502 volunteers participated in the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance by donating 3,538 pounds of food. That’s over one and a half TONS! This food has been delivered to local food security programs. “I can't thank you enough for the BIG food donation from the 9/11 food drive” said Dianne Iverson of the Coalition for Compassion and Justice (CCJ), “Our clients are enjoying real choices for the first time in a while. I know it was a lot of work and I really appreciate it. Lots of smiling faces today!”
For those of you who don’t know much about the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, it became formally recognized by Congress in 2009. The day reclaims the legacy of September 11th and creates a permanent, positive tribute to all those who lost their lives, and those who rose in service after the tragic events. Hundreds of organizations in communities across the nation commemorate this day each year with community-based service projects. We feel honored to have led the community in commemorating this 9/11 Day of Service through a successful food drive that will make a huge difference for families struggling in poverty.