“Last year at this time we had served approximately 2,500 people through this program. During the same period this year, we have served 3,500 people. Generous partnerships and grants have provided increased funding , which has allowed us to serve a lot more people. It’s a need that we know is definitely there,” Kromer said.
By this fall, the downtown location will also provide services through a Workforce Development Center designed to help clients gain the skills and confidence needed to obtain and keep a job. The site will also offer weekly food distribution to registered families through a new custom-built mobile pantry.
“Going to areas where needs are identified and bringing a variety of foods to customers in their own neighborhood is a big part of that. This truck has a fridge and freezer, so we can distribute produce, dairy, meat and dry goods like people would get at a physical food bank,” Kromer said.
To date of this exercise, ICS has served 36,000 people through drive-through food distributions at food banks and produce/food distributions in parking lots of local Faith Partner congregations. Offered in conjunction with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona for several years, Kromer said the pandemic is making parking lot distributions even more essential.
“We know the mobile pantry is a good model because the giveaways in our faith community’s parking lots have been so successful. They’ve served about 200 families in two hours at each giveaway at six locations across the city over the past eight months,” Kromer said.