Poverty isn’t a word usually associated with Scottsdale, where the median household income is estimated at more than $61,000. That’s why a midyear call for donations to help fill shelves of the city’s food bank might surprise some people.
"The idea of people being hungry in Scottsdale is pretty far from some people’s minds," said Rita Koppinger, manager of the Vista del Camino food bank. "People can go hungry anywhere."
Scottsdale has designated June "Crush Hunger" month. June is National Hunger Awareness Month and the city is trying to do its part, according to Koppinger.
"We help people all yearround," she said. "We hand out around 2,000 food boxes during the year. That’s in addition to the 500 we give for Christmas and Thanksgiving."
Koppinger said there are approximately 440 families — or 1,100 people — who need help in Scottsdale. A monthly income of $1,553 or less for a family of four, or $748 for an individual, would meet criteria for getting help. Those figures, Koppinger said, meet U.S. poverty guidelines.
"For this time of year, the need is particularly high," Koppinger said. "Donations are down. People are on vacation. They are doing other things. Even those who help us during the holidays have other things on their mind right about now. Our regular donors might not be thinking about us at this time of year."
What donors may not realize, Koppinger said, is that need grows as children are home for the summer.
"They can’t take advantage of the school lunch programs during the summer," she said. "There are a lot of families with children who are struggling. Besides those 1,100 who we know are living in poverty, many more are hovering just over poverty and struggling with the downturn in the economy. People in the resort industry, like bartenders and servers, are struggling because their hours have been reduced. It’s a domino effect."
For information, call (480) 312-2323.
Food donation locations
• Vista del Camino Food Bank, 7700 E. Roosevelt St.
• Via Linda Senior Center, 10440 E. Via Linda
• City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.
• One Civic Center, 7447 E. Indian School Road
• City Corporation Yard, 9191 E. San Salvador Drive For information, call (480) 312-2323.