Mike Newcomb named executive director of local Manzanita Outreach

Mike Newcomb

Mike Newcomb

Mike Newcomb is the recently appointed executive director of Manzanita Outreach, a local non-profit best known locally for its annual Kids Against Hunger meal-packaging event.

Newcomb brings more than 30 years of diverse experience in the logistics/distribution field as co-president of Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, general manager of an Amazon.com e-commerce fulfillment center, and director of operations of Fleming Companies, Inc., a wholesale food distributor. He has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from Missouri Southern University.

Mike and his wife, Donna, have been dedicated to local hunger prevention since moving to the Verde Valley in 2012.

Donna is the Meals on Wheels Coordinator for the Sedona Community Center.

Newcomb said, “In the summer of 2016, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve on the Board of Manzanita Outreach. During that time, it has been an honor to see such support for our organization from so many open-hearted people within our communities.”

Newcomb’s current role is to help the organization achieve its mission: to alleviate the suffering of others by providing life’s basic needs.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to work with an awesome team as we focus on delivering hope to those who need it most.,” he said.

Pop-up food pantry coming to local retirement center

Manzanita Outreach, a local non-profit organization, plans to bring its Pop-Up Pantry Program to Verde Valley Manor residents starting in September.

The eight units of the Verde Village, surrounding and adjacent to Cottonwood, have the largest population of any community in the Verde Valley and more than 2,000 of its residents live in poverty. Additionally, the Verde Villages are among Arizona’s many food deserts where a significant number of people are low-income; don’t have ready access to healthy food; and may have limited or no access to a vehicle.

The Verde Valley Manor is a non-profit corporation located amidst the Verde Villages. Established in 1976, the Manor is central Arizona’s first federally funded housing development and most Manor residents meet the three criteria listed above. The Manor’s mission is to develop and operate affordable rental housing for program-eligible tenants and provide and promote services to assist in maintaining independent living.

Manzanita Outreach recently became a partner agency of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix. Through this collaboration, Pop-Up Pantries will provide perishable and non-perishable food items to those in need in targeted areas within the Verde Valley.

“Basically, we pop up tables and/or tents, fill them with food and feed the hungry!” said Mike Newcomb, Executive Director of Manzanita Outreach.

The process begins with Manzanita Outreach identifying an area in which a significant number of people are food insecure and/or struggle to get food from another emergency food provider. Manzanita Outreach secures a location and spreads the word in the community. On the day of the event, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance delivers the food to the location and Manzanita Outreach’s volunteers facilitate the food distribution process.

Newcomb continued, “We are blessed with several emergency food providers in the Verde Valley and they all do great work. Unfortunately, when you look at the Verde Valley as a whole, there are gaps in the total supply of emergency food and many of our residents are missed or forgotten. Filling those gaps is the focus of our organization.”

According to Newcomb, one glaring gap is that the Verde Villages do not have a food bank or pantry. As a result, Manzanita Outreach plans to hold two pop-up pantry food distributions a month. The first one will be specifically for the approximately 250 Verde Valley Manor residents starting in September. The second one will start in November and will be open to the general public. Date and location information will be coming soon.

If you are interested in volunteering at one of the food pantries, go to ManzanitaOutreach.org or send an email to info@ManzanitaOutreach.org.

Kids Against Hunger meal-packing event returns Oct. 21

Manzanita Outreach is a local non-profit focused on delivering hope to those who need it most … locally and abroad.

In 2011, the organization became Arizona’s only Kids Against Hunger satellite. Since that time, generous support from the residents, businesses and organizations of Verde Valley has produced tremendous results. Over 1.5 million nutritious meals have been packaged and delivered so far. The meals have been distributed to emergency food providers within Yavapai County and to orphanages in Haiti.

Manzanita Outreach’s Co-Founder Karen Freeman said, “We will host our fourth annual Kids Against Hunger packing event on Saturday, October 21st at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds. We hope to exceed last year’s success and that it will be a record day for our organization.”

Utilizing the support of over 800 volunteers of all ages, assembly lines will be formed and the nutritious meals will be prepared for shipment. Kids Against Hunger’s meals have been formulated by food scientists to provide a rich source of easily digestible protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins needed by children suffering from malnutrition. The meals offer all nine of the essential amino acids required for complete nutrition – something that can’t be said about other typical food relief sources such as rice or beans alone.

“The volunteers at our packing events are making a real impact on the lives of others,” said Executive Director Mike Newcomb. “In just two hours, a volunteer will help provide a hungry child with a life-sustaining meal every day for an entire year. It’s a ‘hands-on’ opportunity for people to be a part of something bigger than themselves and to potentially satisfy the hunger we all have within to make a difference!”

To volunteer for the event, register at www.ManzanitaOutreach.org.

Sponsorships and donations are needed to help pay for the food, packaging materials and shipping costs. Contributions are accepted online at www.ManzanitaOutrearch.org or by mailing a check to: Manzanita Outreach, P.O. Box 371, Cottonwood, AZ 86326.

Manzanita Outreach is a qualified organization for the AZ Tax Credit.


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