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How Green Bags helps ‘fill the need’

Volunteers at Fill the Need Pantry

Volunteers at Fill the Need Pantry

The Verde Valley Neighborhood Food Project (VVNFP) was established in 2013 with one goal in mind – to support those who feed the hungry in the Verde Valley, one bag at a time. It meets that goal by community donors filling up green bags every other month with non-perishable food items.

Once the bags are filled, 33 neighborhood coordinators in the VOC make their rounds and pick up green bags from more than 407 donors. The food is then distributed to different food banks/pantries in the surrounding area.

In 2021, some local community members saw a need and were able to set up a food pantry in the Village of Oak Creek at Big Park School. Collaborating with the VVNFP, Project Fill the Need became one of the four pantries receiving a large donation of food at each VOC bi-monthly Green Bag collection, around 60% of its monthly offering to the public.

Other foodstuffs, hygiene products and pet food are obtained through a host of sponsors, sought out by board members and other volunteers of the project.

Prior to the last Saturday of every month, the day the pantry is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., volunteers receive and sort donations. There are many tables of canned goods separated by food groups, a table for items for special diets, like gluten free and lactose free, a table of personal hygiene items and a table for pet food.

The pantry is now a year old, and it has had a significant impact on our local community. The growing number of clients select their own “market basket” and are helped by numerous volunteers to fulfill specific requests.

Favorite food items, or the ones that go the fastest, are protein items like tuna, chicken, corned beef hash and sardines. Also popular are dry cereals, quick fix potatoes, shelf stable liquid milk and olives. Canned green beans and dry beans are not favorites. This type of information is valuable to pass on to VOC donors.

Commemorating its first anniversary, Project Fill the Need will be hosting an open house at its site at Big Park School on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, from 5 to 6 p.m.

Community members can see firsthand how they are impacting lives in their own community. To learn more about Project Fill the Need, please contact info@projectfilltheneed.org

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