Foothills Food Bank: A Precious Commodity

Executive Director Pam DiPietro (left) and just two of the 400 plus volunteers that keep Foothills Food Bank running smoothly

Executive Director Pam DiPietro (left) and just two of the 400 plus volunteers that keep Foothills Food Bank running smoothly

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ Smiling faces and bustling rooms full of employees and volunteers who clearly love what they do, all moving with purpose – this is the first impression upon walking in to Cave Creek’s Foothills Food Bank and Resource Center.

Established in 1988, the organization serves a growing number of families in the Foothills area – encompassing about 180 miles as far north as Black Canyon City, south to Pinnacle Peak, east to Rio Verde and west to the I-17 – and the need and its area continues to increase. Whether it is food, financial assistance or referral information, Executive Director Pam DiPietro and her team work hard to make sure that needs are met.

In a new 5,000-square-foot facility – owned free-and-clear due to a very successful capital campaign and a generous $300,000 donation that put them over the top – the food bank is already experiencing growing pains after a year and a half.

“When we moved in here, we knew right off we needed 7,500 square feet, but we thought, ‘ok we’ll make this work’,” says DiPietro. “We did not anticipate that within a year, our client base would increase greatly. A year ago December we saw 350 families. This October, we saw 454 families and we are anticipating reaching 500 this December.”

But DiPietro and her team are undaunted. This fall, the Food Bank became an official agency to distribute SNAP (food stamps), they are working with Russ Lyon Realty to create and distribute container gardens and plans are in the works to launch an on-site garden that will provide fresh food and educational opportunities to the community.

“We are held up right now – because of the little critters, we want to build a retaining wall and then Elrod Fence Company said they will put chicken wire to enclose the garden completely. We would like to find somebody to donate concrete for us, and the blocks. We hope by spring, it will be ready to go.”

In addition, the organization is in need of mentors willing to work with clients applying for services from beginning to completion.

“I’ll start my 14th year in January,” says DiPietro. “It’s a very beautiful, rewarding experience we have here.”

Foothills Food Bank is located at 6038 East Hidden Valley Drive in Cave Creek. To learn more, call 480.488.1145 or visit |CST

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