ARIZONA NEWS

Cold winter leaves St. Mary’s Food Bank low on fruits, vegetables

Mar 19, 2019, 4:55 AM
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – St. Mary’s Food Bank says it’s running low on fresh fruits and vegetables because this year’s cold winter shortened the growing period in southern Arizona.

Spokesman Jerry Brown said the food bank normally receives 3 million to 4 million pounds of produce grown in Arizona’s border towns, but those donations could be as much as 50 percent lower this year because of the lower yield.

“That’s really important fresh fruits and vegetables that we can give on to our clients that we’re not going to have this year,” Brown told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

St. Mary’s is asking the public to help make up the shortfall with canned fruits and vegetables.

Additionally, Brown said the nonprofit organization is still accepting donations of homegrown citrus fruit, which remained viable longer than usual this year because of the cooler temperatures.

“If anybody wants to pick their trees and get those cleaned out for the year and donate those to the food bank, we can accept those, especially oranges,” he said.

Brown said produce is an important part of what St. Mary’s provides for families in need.

“Up to 35 percent of what the food bank puts out day after day is fresh fruits and vegetables,” he said. “And when we don’t have those it puts a real strain on the food bank.

“We have less food to give out, and the food that we give out is not as nutritious.”

Citrus can be donated at the St. Mary’s locations at 2831 N. 31st Ave. in Phoenix and 13050 W. Elm St. in Surprise. Cans can be dropped off there, too, or at any Valley Goodwill store.

Also, St. Mary’s accepts cash donations through its website.

“Every dollar donated to the food bank allows us to provide seven meals in the community,” Brown said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Madison Spence contributed to this report.

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Cold winter leaves St. Mary’s Food Bank low on fruits, vegetables