Community Food Bank History

1976

  • The Tucson Community Food Bank opened; it distributed 10,533 emergency food boxes its first year.

1978

  • Punch Woods joined the Community Food Bank as executive director; 120 social service agencies requested food from the Community Food Bank for hungry families.

1982

  • Increasing requests for emergency food from the Community Food Bank prompted a move to a new warehouse on 27th Street, increasing warehouse space from 1,800 to 18,000 square feet.
  • Over 140 walkers participated in the first Tucson Walk Against Hunger (CROP Walk) and raised pledges totaling over $9,000.

1983

  • The Community Food Bank became a member of Second Harvest, the nationwide network of food banks.
  • Ajo Branch Bank opened its doors.

1984

  • Green Valley Branch Bank opened.

1986

  • To better serve more families during the holidays, several local social service agencies (including the Community Food Bank) started Holiday Share. El Con Mall donated space, local agencies provided staffing, and Rotary Clubs of Tucson provided administrative funding. Four hundred and three Thanksgiving boxes and 850 Christmas boxes were provided the first year.
  • Community Food Bank volunteers and staff participated in Hands Across America to form a human chain coast-to-coast in support of human needs.

1987

  • The first Commodity Supplemental Food Program (Food Plus) clients were seen at its first place of operation: 1603 West Grant Road.
  • Punch was elected to Second Harvest’s Board of Directors.

1988

  • Tucson’s Table, a program collecting prepared, perishable food, began.
  • Amado Branch Bank opened.

1989

  • To provide immunizations, school supplies, school physicals, food, and other human services to low-income families, agencies cooperated to hold the first C.A.R.E. Fair.

1990

  • A celebration was held to open the Community Food Bank’s new building: 30,000 sq. ft. on South Park Avenue. It housed Food Plus, Tucson’s Table, the Pima County Health Department certifying office, Hunger Awareness Resource Center (HARC), and CFB administration offices.

1991

  • The Tucson City Mayor and Council adopted the Children’s Nutrition Bill of Rights, declaring that no child shall go hungry in Arizona.
  • CFB’s first cookbook, Padre Kino’s Favorite Meatloaf – and other recipes from Baja Arizona, featured local celebrities’ favorite recipes paired with humorous anecdotes. Bonnie Henry wrote the clever stories about each contributor and David Fitzsimmons drew caricatures of the “chefs.”

1994

  • An average day at the Community Food Bank saw enough food come and go to provide 25,790 meals.

1995

  • Community Food Bank’s next cookbook, Coronado’s Favorite Trail Mix – and more recipes from Baja Arizona was released. It followed the same popular format as the first.

1996

  • CFB purchased a larger warehouse at 3003 South Country Club to create the Multi-Service Center. This building was to house the Community Food Bank’s programs and lease office space to other human service agencies.
  • By now, CFB was operating many food programs including Emergency Food Boxes, USDA’s Food Plus and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Salvage, Volunteer Food Partners Grocery Store, Gleaning, Tucson’s Table, Senior Brown Bag, and Infant Formula Boxes.

1997

  • Community Gardens of Tucson started a pilot program at Community Food Bank. CFB provided 5,000 sq. ft. of land for a garden. Each plot (2 ft. x 27 ft. long) was assigned to families who paid a $3 monthly fee to cover maintenance, water and drip irrigation.

1998

  • The Community Food Bank received the Victory Against Hunger Award from the Congressional Hunger Center.
  • A 6-week pilot project called Kids Cafe®  took place at the Boys & Girls Club on 36th Street.

2000

  • The Community Garden’s Tuesday Market Table opened at the Community Food Bank.
  • Congressman Jim Kolbe accompanies U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to the Community Food Bank, to see and hear about programs and services provided.

2001

  • The Community Food Bank paired with Habitat for Humanity to stock the pantries of each new home.
  • KABOOM!, Home Depot, Tucson Electric Power, and CFB volunteers donated materials, labor, and funds to build the children’s playground.
  • Kids Cafe® opens in the Northwest Neighborhood Center.

2002

  • March – Charles “Punch” Woods retires as President/CEO of the Community Food Bank after 25 years of service to Tucson and Pima County.

2003

  • Tucson Electric Power and the Community Food Bank collaborate by participating  in  the BackPack Program- weekend food for children in need distributed by their schools every Friday.
  • April – Patrick “Pat” J. Zumbusch joins the Community Food Bank as President/CEO.
  • May – Farmers’ Market began accepting food stamps for fresh locally grown organic produce.
  • 2 new Kids Cafe® sites open.
  • Community Food Bank’s WEB site was updated thanks to a grant from the City of Tucson.
  • November – The Tucson Originals Restaurants held the first Tucson Culinary Festival and the Community Food Bank was the beneficiary of the proceeds.

2004

  • January – 2 new Kids Cafe®  sites opened bring the total to 9 sites.

2005

  • Several more Snak Paks sites open, bringing the total of schools distributing weekend food to five.
  • The University of Arizona hosts its first UA4FOOD food drive for the food bank.

2006

  • January- Bill Carnegie joins CFB as president and CEO.
  • UA4FOOD sponsors a Snak Pak location through a grant from the Marshall Foundation, in conjunction with its annual drive to benefit CFB.
  • The Value Foods Store becomes a distributor of Just Coffee, a fair market coffee grown in Mexico.

2007

  • Marana Heritage Farm has its grand opening.
  • CFB distributes emergency food provisions from the Santa Cruz Council on Aging.
  • The Community Food Resource Center receives the Glynwood Harvest Award for Connecting Communities, Farmers, and Food.
  • The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona recognizes the Home Gardening Program for Excellence in Innovation.

2008

  • The CFB's Operations Manager and Transport Manager head to Houston to help with hurricane relief after Hurricane Ike.
  • Charity Navigator awards the CFB a 4-star rating for sound fiscal management.
  • America’s Second Harvest is renamed Feeding America.

2009

  • Emergency food distribution begins at Parks & Recreation sites across town.
  • The Youth Farm Project begins
  • CFB purchases one of Arizona’s first commercial, hybrid trucks.
  • A 14,000 gallon water harvesting cistern is built at the CFB’s Tucson-based headquarters.

2010

  • The CFB joins 40 other Feeding America food banks to adopt GPS computerized routing to increase the efficiency of their daily routes and to realize cost savings.
  • The CFRC receives a Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, which helps to launch the Farm to Child Program.
  • The Nogales Community Food Bank opens.
  • The CFB receives funds to erect 38 solar structures. Power from the solar shades is partially used to run the 2,700 square foot “Big Chill” cooler.

2011

  • The CFB receives worldwide donations through the Gabrielle Giffords Hunger Action Fund.
  • Las Milpitas Community Farm is founded.
  • Caridad Community Kitchen, originally known as Caridad de Porres (Charity for the Poor) and started by Holy Family Catholic Church in the late 1990s, becomes a CFB program.
  • The Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market moves to the Mercado San Agustín.
  • The lease of an adjoining building adds 800 square feet of administrative space to the Marana Branch Bank

2012

  • The CFB Farm to Child Program receives a USDA grant to partner with TUSD and San Xavier Mission School on a school gardening project.
  • Caridad Community Kitchen begins its Culinary Training Program.
  • The Gabrielle Giffords Family Assistance Center opens.
  • Howard Buffet visits the CFB to learn about its work. His visit is the catalyst to a partnership that leads to the creation of the Community Food Bank in Willcox.

2013

  • The CFB creates and hosts the first ever “Closing the Hunger Gap: Cultivating Food Justice” conference.
  • Bill Carnegie retires as Chief Executive Officer.
  • Caridad Community Kitchen begins preparing meals for Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Tucson.
  • The CFB’s main warehouse in Tucson is certified in its first AIB Food Safety Inspection.

2014

  • Caridad Community Kitchen launches Caridad CATERING: Food for the Social Good.
  • The CFB plays a critical role in helping Manzo Elementary School become the first in Pima County to get certified and serve garden-grown produce in the cafeteria.
  • Michael McDonald joins the CFB as Chief Executive Officer.
  • The Child Nutrition team launches the School Pantry Program at Wright Elementary School.

2015

  • The CFB Farmers’ Market Program partners with small-scale farmers to supply TUSD and TMC with fresh, locally-grown produce.
  • The Caridad Culinary Training Program graduates its 100th student.
  • The Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona provides a three year, $500,000 grant to help strengthen partnerships with hunger-relief organizations in Cochise County.
  • The Community Food Bank in Willcox opens, signaling an ongoing commitment to alleviating the effects of hunger in Cochise, Graham, and Greenlee counties.
  • For the fifth year in a row, The Nonprofit Times names the CFB on its “Best Nonprofits to Work For” list.