The new food bank at Interfaith Community Services (ICS) on Ina Road is under construction. The 2,700-square-foot facility will replace an existing 400-square-foot ICS Food Bank. The estimated cost of the project is $500,000.
“We’ve outgrown our current facility. Recipients needing food have increased by 10-12 percent per year for at least the last three years. In June alone, we gave out 1,000 emergency food boxes compared to only 916 last year,” said ICS Food Bank Coordinator Curt Balko.
Residents and businesses in Pima County regularly donate food to the food bank, but the current facility lacks storage for sufficient quantities to meet the growing needs of hungry families.
The larger space will accommodate refrigeration equipment, enabling ICS to provide a healthy selection of fresh and frozen foods to recipients. The ICS Food Bank is the only area food bank to be open six days per week. This past year, ICS provided $650,000 worth of food to 12,500 families.
The numerous economic factors contributing to the need for emergency food include the fact that 19 percent, or 185,000, of Pima County residents live at or below the Federal Poverty Level. In the Tucson area, the food hardship rate was 19.4 percent in 2009-2010, ranking it 46th out of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country.
The ICS Food Bank project was made possible by contributions and grants from more than 200 individuals, as well as a number of businesses and foundations.