For 16 years, the Bread of Life mission has fed people in Camp Verde and the surrounding area.
Now the organization that many depend on has to depend on the generosity of others.
The Christian-based food bank and distributor is currently going through a hard financial crunch, Executive Director Duane Burris said.
“We operate on a budget of $62,000 a year,” Burris said. “We rely on donations.”
It’s especially important now, Burris said, as this summer has been a rough one for several different charities.
From its warehouse in town, the mission distributes food to where it is needed. Over the last 12 months, Bread of Life has distributed more than 420,000 pounds of food. Every Tuesday, the group also hosts a free dinner at the town-owned gymnasium on Hollamon Street. Over the past year, the mission has served 7,500 of these hot meals, only asking that the diners listen to a Christian message beforehand.
While Burris said the money is critical to the mission’s operations, he pointed out that a little bit can be stretched a long way.
With just $1.20, Burris said a family of four can eat for a day. An amount as small as 21 cents will provide a pound of food to someone in need.
Burris said the group has undertaken other fundraisers in the past, including a recent coin drive with the help of local children. Still, Burris said more is needed.
“As much as possible,” Burris said. “Summer is always a hard time, but this is probably the lowest we’ve been in three years.”
Burris knows a lot of people are also going through hard times right now, which makes the work Bread of Life does to get food on the tables where it’s needed especially critical.
It’s an issue that stretches far beyond this little corner of Yavapai County. According to a recent study by Feeding America, a national organization dedicated to fighting hunger, every single county and congressional district in the country has a percentage of children that are at risk because there isn’t enough food for them to eat.
In Arizona, the study showed that more than 30 percent of the state’s counties are in the top 10 percent of child hunger rates in the entire nation.
September is also hunger action month and people are being urged by hunger organizations to help out, even by doing something as simple as sending a check to the local Bread of Life Mission.
“The insidious effects of hunger expand well beyond the individual who struggles daily for his or her next nutritious meal. Hunger significantly impacts our nation’s economy, education, health care, and, ultimately, workforce productivity,” said Vicki Escarra, Feeding America president. “Feeding America encourages everyone to play a role throughout September in raising awareness around the issue of hunger.”
To help the Bread of Life continue the work they’ve been doing for more than a decade and a half, donations can be sent to P.O. Box 2991, Camp Verde, AZ 86322.
Call 567-6931 for more information.