Changes coming to WOW food pantry beginning next month
BY TERRI HARBER The Daily News Jun 27, 2017
BULLHEAD CITY — The WOW Mobile Pantry that begins next month in Fort Mohave will replace WOW’s mobile food market.
Produce, pantry, and packaged items will be available on the third Fridays of July, August and September from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Amazing Grace Fellowship, 4195 S. Lynn Drive, the location of the Caring Hearts FoodBank Ministry.
It will be a good thing for those in the community who struggle to find healthy and affordable foods, said Betty Rae, managing director of Mohave Desert Nutrition Initiative.
Rae is organizing the Mobile Pantry and other area endeavors that help bring nutritious food to those who need it. She’s also a principal in the Mohave Desert Nutrition & Lifestyle Wellness Studio. Caring Hearts is a group partner in the pantry operations.
“We’re trying to influence the community to be healthy, eat healthy,” Rae said. “And not have it be too expensive.”
People will be able to put together a selection of foods with more variety and choice than before. And there will be pantry and packaged goods alongside the produce which will better help people to prepare meals, Rae said.
Donations won’t be required to put together a monthly package but are encouraged.
Rescued food helps the group achieve this. These are foods not considered marketable for retail sale or use in restaurants for a variety of reasons. It might be that retail sell dates have passed or the food or its packaging might have some imperfection. Foods offered by the group will continue to come to Fort Mohave from Nogales, Mexico. These foods are as tasty as supermarket fare and can be used to create delicious meals, Rae stressed.
Sometimes businesses order too much of an item so in-date, unblemished produce can end up unwanted and fall under the same “rescued” classification.
“Food banks and soup kitchens frequently use these foods and it’s a practice that’s becoming more popular,” Rae said.
Because diverting this food from going into landfills helps the environment as well as the people who get to eat it, “we end up doing double duty.”
Each family will receive 60 to 100 pounds of food per month from the pantry.
“A lot of folks here hold down jobs — maybe even two or three jobs — and they don’t qualify for the food bank or food stamps,” Rae said. “We’re trying not to restrict access.”
Volunteers will ask for a name, zip code, how many people are in the home and how many of those people are children, seniors or veterans. That demographic information is used to ensure that enough food continues coming to serve the community in the future, she said.
Organizers expect from 300 to 600 people to visit the pantry each time the event occurs, with the lining moving from start to finish within a half-hour. With a retooled delivery system, the monthly events are expected to go more smoothly than before. One month the food delivery was late and another month it was canceled because of transportation and logistics, according to a WOW report completed in April.
“If you’re struggling with your food budget, we’ll be open,” Rae said. “Rain, heat, monsoon — we’ll be here.”
Bring a cart, dolly, wheelbarrow, some boxes or even a friend to help get the food home. And feel free to tell one of the volunteers if there’s something on display that looks too far past its prime because there isn’t always much time to comb through the delivered goods, the group advises.
Seniors and disabled people can get help putting their packages together.
The first of these summer pantries is set for July 21.