Local food banks, nonprofits experiencing annual holiday donation shortages (copy)

Barbara Brodell volunteers her time at the St. Vincent de Paul Community Food Bank last year. Saturday’s Walk for the Poor benefits the food bank while working to raise awareness of hunger and poverty in Cochise County.

SIERRA VISTA — Although the annual St. Vincent de Paul Walk for the Poor doesn’t take place until Saturday, some members of the community have started giving early.

“We’re already getting donations,” said St. Vincent president Diane McDaniel. “It is awesome, really.”

The generosity is being spurned in part by some proactive work by the St. Vincent volunteers.

“At St. Andrew’s church, we actually passed out brown paper bags at every service, with a list of items needed attached to it, she said. “So people had a bag and they just started shopping and dropping off the stuff.”

The annual walk starts at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church at 10 a.m. and will proceed for about a mile to the organization’s food bank.

She said a pastor at Faith Presbyterian church, who has been involved with the walk since it first started, shared thoughts with McDaniel about why they do a walk as opposed to another type of food drive, which she agrees with.

“There is something very beautiful about the solidarity of getting together with others in the community, as a whole, and walking on behalf of the people on the margins,” she said. “There is something about that.”

At least 15 percent of Cochise County residents live at or below the poverty line, according to the group.

McDaniel said the walk actually has three purposes, the most obvious being to raise resources for the food bank the group operates. But on top of that, it raises awareness and brings people together for a common cause as well.

“There is hunger in Sierra Vista, there are children that need food in Sierra Vista, and we join together with the community to try to take care of this need,” she said. “The walk is a physical sign of that,” connection and common purpose, she added.

“And, it does help us get more food for our food bank, but it’s not just that, it’s also about the walking together, and community.”

“You realize other people are working on it too, which increases the overall awareness.”

Check Sunday’s issue of the Herald/Review for more coverage of the Walk for the Poor.

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