Mesa City Council has approved an agreement with United Food Bank to allocate $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funds over three years to help curtail food insecurity.
"We know from our partnership with United Food Bank during the height of the pandemic that food insecurity is a challenge facing many Mesa residents. That's why this new agreement, made possible through ARPA funds, will benefit many families and individuals still needing help," said Mayor John Giles.
With each $1 contribution providing 5 meals, Mesa's donation to the food bank will help provide a total of 25 million meals. The ARPA funds will provide support to the United Food Bank's general operations. This support will allow them to broaden their mission through the redevelopment and restructuring of current facilities as well as the design of new programs that address the root causes of food insecurity - an issue that affects one out of every six individuals in Arizona.
"The United Food Bank has enjoyed an exceptional partnership with Mayor Giles and the City of Mesa, and we are very grateful to the City for this grant funding and their continued support of our mission. This funding will allow us to sustain and improve the delivery of our critical services while we redevelop our new facility to better serve the current and future needs of our community," said Mike Suriano, United Food Bank Interim President and CEO.
During the pandemic, the City of Mesa and United Food Bank partnered to create Feeding Mesa, a food distribution program that served more than 4.25 million pounds of food to over 66,000 households between March and December 2020. The Thanksgiving and Christmas distributions continue annually. In 2022, the Thanksgiving program served 1,847 households and 8,467 people, while the Christmas distribution served 1,603 households and 6,802 people.