The holiday season is upon us and while this can be a joyous time for many families, some are wondering where they are going to get their next meal.
According to the Feeding America website, 1 in 7 people across the country struggle with hunger. In Arizona, 1 in 4 children, 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 7 seniors are food insecure.
Food drives are just one solution to fighting this problem. While it’s important to do year-round, collecting nonperishable food items or cash donations during the holiday season is even more crucial.
“These are people in our community, people at the gas station next to us, people at the coffee shop or walking down the street [that need food] and I think if everyone realized that, it would be a lot easier to give $25,” said Rick Berry, Corporate General Manager of Tate’s Auto Group.
Tate’s Auto Group is hosting its sixth annual family food drive benefiting the United Food Bank in the White Mountains of Arizona from Nov. 11 until Dec. 15.
People can drop off nonperishable food items or cash donations at the dealerships in Show Low, Holbrook and Winslow.
“As soon as the community realized that this food was actually staying in the [Navajo and Apache counties], they got behind this and said, ‘This can be our community food drive,’” Berry said.
Tate’s is hoping to raise more than 150,000 pounds of food this holiday season.
“The need is great and I think it was magnified when the economy was going through some difficult times a few years ago,” Berry said. “I think there were more people that needed help than in years past, but the need has always been there.”
Steve Arey has been organizing the Tate’s family food drive in the area for the last seven years.
He delivers and picks up the food boxes from the more than 400 businesses and schools participating this year in Show Low, Holbrook, Winslow, Pinetop and Taylor.
“Tate’s Auto Group is embedded in our community and any success we have is tied directly to their support,” Berry said. “We’re really a company of employees whom all live and reside in these communities.”
Some of the other partners helping out Tate’s food drive include Cellular One Business Solutions and the White Mountain Firefighters Association.
“Apache is the poorest county and Navajo is right behind them and people don’t understand that,” Arey said. “So if you look at the numbers, United Food Bank ships 1 million pounds of food a year into that area.
“We’re pushing almost 10 percent of that from our little food drive,” Arey continued.
This little food drive is making a big difference in the White Mountains of Arizona.
“This food drive is probably the biggest event on the mountain to give back to the community every year,” Arey said.
Tate’s is also making cash donations to the United Food Bank for every car sold during the food drive and will take 10 percent off any service bill for customers making contributions.