Wed, Feb. 19

Condiments cram June Green Bag collections

They asked for condiments, and they got condiments. That was the result of the June 8 Verde Valley Neighborhood Food Project collection in the Village of Oak Creek.

An incredible 34 neighborhood coordinators collected nearly 5,000 pounds of food in 373 bags from 290 donors, meaning that many local residents donated more than one bag of non-perishable food.

Why condiments? The June 8 collection was the only one of 6 regularly scheduled collection events where donors were asked to focus on a single food provider, the Sedona Community Food Bank.

Usually, VOC and Sedona donors are asked to make sure to include food in the green bags that are distributed to about 80 students each week through the West Sedona School Backpack Program.

But since school is not in session during the summer, the food bank was asked to identify food items that its recipients need or request.

Cathleen Haely-Baiza, Executive Director of the food bank, was quick to provide the green bag leaders with a list of items on their wish list, including foods that are less popular.

The latter list included green beans, corn, and peas, plus peaches and pears and tuna. Instead, one of the most requested items was condiments -- mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressings.

Inspired by the list, food donors made a collective effort to fill their bags with these items. Almost every green bag at one collection site had at least one or two condiments inside.

Although the total results for all of the neighborhood coordinators in the program was down significantly from the April 13 collection, the inclusion of requested items helped stock the food bank’s shelves with items that donors might not necessarily include in their green bags.

The June collection has historically been lower than prior months as snowbirds return to their Canadian and upper Midwest roosts, residents travel, and part timers and visitors begin to outnumber fulltime Verde Valley residents.

The August 10 collection will return the project to its usual pattern of supplying non-perishable food for eight food recipients serving the Verde Valley: the Sedona Community Food Bank, Sedona Area Homeless Alliance, St. Vincent de Paul/St. John Vianney Church, Verde Valley School/Backpack Program for Kids, Jerome Methodist Church, Cottonwood Seventh Day Adventist Church, Spirit of Joy Church, and Cottonwood Methodist Church.

For more information, contact the Nicole Davis, Verde Valley Neighborhood Food Project,

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