New food bank in northwest Tucson

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- After nearly a year of fund raising, Interfaith Community Services has opened a new food bank on the northwest side.

It was built in response to a growing need in Tucson, in large part from residents who never thought they'd have a need.

These days Douglas Zimmerli appreciates the little things in life.

"Money is really tight.  Food is really short.  I don't have any family here and I'm hungry," said Zimmerli.

Dressed in a boy scout costume for Halloween, Douglas was in good spirits Monday, but in the last year he has seen his landscaping work schedule cut in half.

"It's left me with eating macaroni and cheese," Zimmerli said.  "Macaroni and cheese for a week."

Which is what brought Douglas to the Interfaith Community Services' new food bank.

"I was really pleased that they had hamburger helper, and spaghetti sauce and noodles," Zimmerli added.

The northwest side facility will provide food for more than 1,000 families a month.

They're families who live in an area of Tucson not typically labeled as low income.

"They sit in my chair in a case management interview just so down because they were the givers and now they need to receive," said ICS Associate Director Terri Pat-Smith.

With 2,700 square feet of storage-- compared to its previous 400 square feet-- Interfaith community services can now properly accommodate this new clientele.

"We treat people with dignity, respect and compassion and I think people really feel that when they leave here," Pat-Smith said.

It's that compassion Douglas says, that inspires him to get back on his feet, So one day soon he can once again be the giver.

With the holidays approaching, the food bank is in desperate need of donations.

Some of the items most needed are frozen turkeys and hams, canned meals, pasta and cereal.

Donations can be dropped off at the office on West Ina.