Williams Food Bank starts collecting non-perishable food items for holidays

Safeway employee Julie Pritchard displays the pre-assembled bags that people can purchase at the store and then donate to the Williams Food Bank. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Safeway employee Julie Pritchard displays the pre-assembled bags that people can purchase at the store and then donate to the Williams Food Bank. Ryan Williams/WGCN

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - As summer turns to fall, the holiday season is fast approaching. For Williams Food Bank Director Guy Mikkelsen, that means it's time to start collecting for the busiest time of year.

"This time of year we start getting bare. The food supplies from my warehouses and grocery stores just don't have the variety they used to," Mikkelsen said. "I've been having to purchase food at Sam's Club to give (clients) something else besides noodles, beans and rice."

While supply is low now, the demand will only increase in the coming months. Last November, the Food Bank served 440 families, compared to an average month when it serves about 270.

"Everybody comes out of the woodwork for Thanksgiving," Mikkelsen said. "It's a hard meal to put on. It's expensive to provide Thanksgiving dinner for your family."

The Food Bank has provided Thanksgiving boxes for about 10 years, and every year the number of families served grows.

After Thanksgiving, Christmas is right around the corner with the Food Bank usually serving about 300 families.

In order to help the Food Bank prepare for the increased need during the holidays, Safeway has started a food drive and is selling ready to donate bags at the cash registers.

The items Mikkelsen needs the most are non-perishable and canned items, especially items that contain protein like tuna, beef stew and chicken soup. In addition, the Food Bank is already collecting holiday items such as green beans and cranberry sauce.

"A lot of food can come out of people's pantries without them having to go out and purchase food for the Food Bank that they may have thought they would use at some point but really aren't going to and get that food into the hands of people who will eat it," Mikkelsen said.

He added that canned food that is past its expiration date is generally still edible if it's within a year of the date and has no dents.

The Williams Food Bank is at 200 S. Ninth St. More information is available at (928) 635-2913.

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