Food bank planning move to larger building

Recent donations to the Kingman Area Food Bank have put the all-volunteer organization one step closer to the larger quarters they seek.

"We don't have enough room here.

We need twice the space.

There are more people coming in every day.

We are outgrowing this building," said Kingman Area Food Bank vice president Arnold Buss.

A recent $10,000 donation from a local citizen went to the Kingman Area Food Bank building fund set up at Wells Fargo Bank.

The newest donation brings the building fund close to $22,000 – far short of the $250,000 or more, food bank president Cecil Groves said the group hopes to raise.

"We have applied for several grants, but have had no responses yet.

It may take a year or more to raise the funds," Groves said.

The food bank currently operates out of a city-owned building at 1020 Buchanan.

The organization pays no rent, but must maintain the building.

Despite the low overhead, Groves said he is looking to the future.

"The food bank needs a larger building – about 7,500 square feet.

It would be best is we could build something.

… one of those steel frame buildings on a concrete foundation.

We need about an acre of land as close in town as possible for that," he said.

He added that every month he sees more and more people in need of food from the food bank.

"We are a catch-net for people that get kicked off welfare and food stamps.

And every time a business in Phoenix lays off hundreds of people, some end up here.

Some of these people are working, but are making low wages.

They have trouble paying their utility bills – there is little left over for food," Groves said.

He said that the building in which the food bank is currently housed is not well insulated.

"It is ....

cold in the winter, and too hot in the summer.

I don't like to ask volunteers to work in those conditions."

The food bank receives funding and donations from several different sources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agencies and United Way.

It also receives about 4,000 pounds of "certain food items, if they have it" from the West Side Food Bank in Phoenix.

Many donations also come from churches, businesses and individuals in the Kingman community.

"All money and food donations coming to the food bank are accounted for.

We weigh everything (food) in and out," said food bank treasurer Charles Wells.

Wells and about 30 other volunteers distribute 400-500 boxes of food to area families each month.

Many families rely on the food boxes and return each month.

During November 124 new people asked for food, Wells said.

The food bank took in and purchased 51,202 pounds of food that month.

The bulk of the food, about 35,000 pounds, was distributed to 512 families, with 16,053 pounds "going out the back door," a term that refers to food given to other establishments, including homeless shelters in Kingman and Chloride and a food bank in Golden Valley.

"Nothing goes to waste," Buss said.

About 30 volunteers work more than 1,000 hours a month collecting, sorting, storing and distributing food to those in need.

"No one receives a paycheck here.

When someone donates money to us it all goes for the people it is intended to help," Groves said.