DOUGLAS — As the holiday season approaches the Douglas Area Food Bank on Seventh Street is seeing an increase in those in need of assistance.

There is also a need for volunteers to help in the distribution.

According to Raul Hernandez, president of the Food Bank, at Monday’s commodity distribution an estimated 110 families were provided food items; 20 of which were first timers.

“Many people are looking for something to get them through the holidays,” Hernandez said. “This is a critical time for everybody. You can see it when you go grocery shopping and many of the shelves are bare.”

Hernandez added some of the local stores that used to give them extra food in the past have been unable to do so lately because of the increase in demand.

“We are now having a hard time rescuing leftover food,” he said. “The commodities that we do receive on a monthly basis, it’s hard to know what we will get and when we will get it.”

The commodities that were distributed this past Monday came from the Tucson and Willcox Food Banks.

Commodities are distributed every third Monday of each month and regular food distribution takes place every Tuesday and Thursday. Distribution this next week however, due to Thanksgiving, will take place Tuesday and Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 a.m. There is also a homebound delivery day one day a month.

In order to volunteer, a person must be able to lift between 25 and 50 pounds.

“We put them through a crash course about food handling,” he said. “There is a quick interview with me.”

In order to receive food items people need to be pre-registered. That can be done at the Food Bank during distribution hours.

“We also accept financial donations,” he said. “Anybody that has that spirit, that generosity, we will accept it and put it to good use.”

Jose Grijalva, councilman for Ward 6, became a volunteer shortly after the pandemic began.

“I saw there was a need to help out the community,” he said. “The first time I came by here I was amazed to find out how many people were in need. I also saw how few volunteers they had. I thought it was my duty as a resident to help out.”

Grijalva added he is somewhat surprised by the number of people who show up each week looking for some kind of assistance.

“When you come here and see the need it’s humbling,” he said. “We need to become more proactive in the community. The pandemic showed me how big the need was. When the pandemic goes away the need will still be there as will the need for volunteers.”

“Having someone like (Councilman Grijalva) with us helps,” Hernandez said. “He has a first hand perspective now of what we do here and how we do it and most importantly, what we need.”

To find out more about how you can help stop by the Food Bank located on the corner of Seventh Street and G Avenue or call (520) 364-4170.