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Local groups organize to provide food for hungry
Feeding the needy is highest on the priority list for the newly organized Hunger Summit, sponsored by Rotary International and the eight Rotary Clubs in Yuma, with cooperative efforts of the Yuma Community Food Bank, the Salvation Army and Crossroads Mission.
Ronna Sue Stubbs, executive director of the food bank and coordinator of the summit, said, "By working together our Yuma organizations are able to provide more efficient ways to help provide food for the needy.
"The Hunger Summit will coordinate a three-facet project. During the week of March 15 through 19, members of the Rotary Clubs will be having their meetings with meals at the Crossroads Mission. The week of April 12 to 16, the meals will be served at the Salvation Army facility, and, May 3 to 7, the Yuma Community Food Bank will be host for these Mini-Hunger Summits.
Yuma Rotary clubs participating in the program are: Yuma, North End, Foothills, Sunrise, Yuma Crossing, Fort Yuma, Somerton and San Luis, Ariz. The clubs meet at different times and locations, but will convene at the three sites mentioned for the program.
The culmination for Hunger Summit will be June 3, when local and state fraternal and service organizations will convene for a special event.
Stubbs said, "In 2003 the Yuma Community Food Bank, a United Way agency, distributed 11.4 million pounds of food through 15 emergency and supplemental food programs throughout Yuma and LaPaz counties, plus two in Imperial County."
Mike Simpson, business manager for the Salvation Army, said, "There have been increases in the numbers of people going to the daily soup kitchen at 10:30 a.m. It used to be mostly men, but now there are more women and families coming to 475 W. 13th St. These needy people get hot, nourishing meals, not just sandwiches. In 2002, we served 44,461 meals, and in 2003, the number increased to 63,421.
"Also, the Salvation Army gives out emergency food boxes that contain nonperishable food items - something to help the family get through for a few days. In 2002, there were 1,741 boxes given out, and in 2003, the total was 1,963."
The Crossroads Mission served 91,889 meals to the hungry in 2003, Charlie Allen, executive director said. The mission averages 250 meals per day.
The Hunger Summit goal is to make the public aware that people are in need of food all year round, not just at special holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Pam M. Smith can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6856.