Our Neighbors Farm & Pantry helps bring food to those in need

Contributed Photo: Garden Manager Janine Yellowhair Brown, right, brings produce to the pantry as Pantry Manager Dana Larchick, center, helps to pack a client box and volunteer Christine Franklin, left, pushes the basket.

By Stacey Scarce/Executive Director Our Neighbors Farm & Pantry

SAFFORD – Our Neighbors Farm & Pantry is dedicated to bringing food to those in need, educating our youth through STEM activities, growing food for the pantry, and housing NCCC AmeriCorps members volunteering in Graham County. This year has been a challenge leading to many changes at the garden and pantry. The pantry moved from a choice pantry where clients choose their food to a drive-through pantry where volunteers fill boxes with no client input. The drive-through pantry is labor-intensive but we didn’t give up even when volunteers resigned, afraid to contract COVID-19.

Garden volunteers also declined, leading to overwhelming garden work for those who stayed. The garden education program was suspended which has not allowed outdoor education for students. We didn’t want students to miss out on these valuable lessons which led us to create garden education videos shared with teachers and students. 

We have seen high numbers of new clients since April and note that most of our new clients were families with children. The average number of visits per person in 2020 was three. Household members of those served are 30% children and 27% seniors.  ONF&P is a safety net for our community going through hard times.

This year we received three shipments of emergency boxes through the Farmers Feeding Families program which we distributed to pantry clients, veterans through Safford American Legion, and outreach to low-income and senior neighborhoods, apartments, and mobile parks.

We continue to adapt to the changing needs of our community, staff, and volunteers and ask that you help us by taking advantage of the Arizona Tax Credit. Divert your state tax money to help local nonprofits help our neighbors, family, and friends. 

Our Neighbors Farm & Pantry is a member of the Graham Greenlee Tax Credit Coalition (GGTCC).  The GGTCC promotes the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit, a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit of up to $800 for those filing jointly, or $400 if filing individually!  You can receive this tax credit on your Arizona state income tax return by donating to a local qualified nonprofit organization.  To learn more about this opportunity, visit www.grahamgreenleetcc.org.  The GGTCC is administered by the Arizona Community Foundation of the Gila Valley and can be reached at grahamgreenleetcc@gmail.com or 520-439-0595.

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