Contributed Photo: The grocery chain is one of only three selected by FirstFruits to participate in the annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger initiative.
CHANDLER – Now that pandemic-related SNAP benefits have ended, more people are turning to their local food banks to help make ends meet. Thanks to a timely collaboration, families experiencing food insecurity in Arizona are receiving greater access to fresh produce this month.
Bashas’, which operates grocery stores in Arizona and New Mexico, was again selected by FirstFruits to participate in this year’s Take a Bite Out of Hunger initiative. The grocery chain is one of only three chosen to participate in the give-back collaboration this year.
Bashas’ supermarkets donated 20,902 pounds of apples this week to St. Mary’s Food Bank and United Food Bank to help families in need throughout Central and Northern Arizona.
“Fruits and vegetables are important and irreplaceable items for food banks to provide nutritious menus for so many families in need,” said CEO Tom Kertis, President of St. Mary’s Food Bank, which received a 13-pallet donation of apples on April 4. “This donation from our friends at FirstFruits and Bashas’ is much needed and appreciated, especially now when inflation has hit so many families hard. We thank them for their generosity.”
The mission of the annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger collaboration is simple: to feed the underserved while bringing attention to the problem of food insecurity in the United States. The grocery chain has a long history of participating in the give-back campaign; Bashas’ has participated annually since 2018.
Bashas’ supermarkets earned the donation for the communities it serves based on the number of apples the retailer sold in stores in January and February. Thanks to shoppers purchasing 24% more apples during this timeframe in 2023, as compared to last year, this year’s donation will be 24% greater, as well.
“Supporting local food banks is a natural way for us to ensure that families in need in the communities we serve have access to fresh, nutritious foods,” said Ashley Shick, Director of Communications & Public Affairs for Bashas’ Family of Stores. “Teaming up with organizations like FirstFruits allows us to extend our giving even further.”
In Arizona, as many as one in nine people struggle with hunger, and the number of hungry children is higher yet. About one in six Arizona children – nearly 270,000 youth – experience hunger or do not have regular access to safe, affordable, and nutritious foods.
Since Take a Bite Out of Hunger’s inception in 2010, more than 2.8 million pounds of fresh apples have been donated in participating retailers’ names to local food banks in their communities.
“Everyone should have access to fresh, nutritious produce as a part of a well-balanced diet, especially in this inflationary period, when growers, retailers, and everyday consumers are facing challenges,” said Aimee Peters, Business Development Manager of FirstFruits. “Thanks to the continued partnerships with Bashas’ and the food banks, we’re making apples accessible to those who need them the most.”
Bashas’ is a grocer that operates in Arizona, New Mexico, and four Tribal Nations under five well-known brands including Bashas’, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store, and Bashas’ Diné supermarkets. Founded in 1932, Bashas’ has a rich history of serving Arizona families with quality products and great customer service. With more than 110 grocery stores, Bashas’ is one of the largest employers in the state and one of the Best Places to Work in Arizona. Bashas’ has given back more than $100 million to the communities it serves. For more information, visit bashas.com. Bashas’ is a division of The Raley’s Companies.
FirstFruits is dedicated to growing the highest quality apples and cherries in the industry. It grows more than 10 varieties of apples and cherries spread across 6,000 acres in Eastern Washington. FirstFruits is unique to the industry because its fruit is grown, stored, and packed at the same location – an unmatched practice that provides greater control over the quality and safety of its fresh produce. For more information about FirstFruits, visit wffm-wa.com.