March 17, 2020 / Modified mar 18, 2020 12:05 p.m.

Food bank starting 'drive-through' distribution and prepping for increased need

The organization also says it has increased its hygienic practices and canceled one of its top fundraising events of the year.

Community food bank The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
Courtesy Community Food Bank

Like many other organizations in Arizona and around the world, the Community Food Bank of Southern Aizona is taking measures to deal with COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus.

The main warehouse, located on Country Club Road in Tucson, will begin "drive-through" distribution of emergency food bags and boxes on Wednesday March 18 so people don't have to go into the building and wait in line with other residents.

The other warehouses in Amado, Green Valley and Nogales will follow suit next week with the goal of reducing conditions where the virus might be dispersed more easily compared to outdoor settings.

"I think our team here at the food bank has really responded in a great way, to be nimble enough, to be able to shift into a whole new method of distribution here on Country Club. It takes a lot of work and a lot of arranging," said spokesperson Norma Cable.

In addition, the food bank has increased its hygienic practices and canceled its "Farm to Table" dinner later this month, one of its top fundraisers each year.

In the meantime, employees are also preparing for the possibility of seeing more needy residents due to school and business closures which will force people to stay home, possibly without a salary.

"Our food is still available and we are well-equipped to distribute that and get it into the community. We do serve 200,000 people per year in southern Arizona. We are prepared for those numbers and we do have food on hand," Cable added.

Still, the food bank says it welcomes donations.

It is also recruiting volunteers who are healthy, haven't traveled recently and are showing no signs of the virus.

"I think for all of us it is just a good time to remember we can get through this, and that we do have the capability to work together, and that that will help us all a lot."

Food Bank Warehouse The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona provides food to about 200,000 people each year.
Bob Lindberg/AZPM

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