Yavapai Food Council was founded in 2009 by Harvey Grady (Verde Food Council) as a way of providing the Verde Valley with local leadership and guidance toward eliminating hunger and creating a sustainable food system. At that time the state of Arizona did not have one state agency focused on providing leadership for eliminating hunger. The premise of Verde Food Council was based on if we don’t develop local resources to feed the hungry, we won’t have the resources.
In 2013, the United Way of Yavapai County came to the Food Council leadership with a request that they collaborate with others in the Quad-Cities area to develop an organization to mirror Verde Food Council’s programs, focus and results. After review of the needs and resources available it was decided that that best solution would be to expand Verde Food Council to Yavapai Food Council. The organization immediately began recognizing and supporting the Emergency Food System and hunger programs countywide – from Black Canyon City to Ashfork and Seligman and all communities between. In addition to the organizational commitment to countywide service, the state of Arizona and the Internal Revenue Service now formally recognize this 501c3 organization as Yavapai Food Council.
Yavapai Food Council has focused on provided hunger relief resources, data-driven studies, and creative solutions to eliminate gaps in the emergency food system since 2012. A few ways these efforts have helped the hungry of Yavapai County include:
Since expanding our focus, Yavapai Food Council has accepted annual recognition awards from organization including Arizona Community Association of Sedona, Keep Sedona Beautiful, Northern Arizona Healthcare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona and NAWBO.
Such organizations as the Hunger Advisory Council of the Arizona Department of Economic Security and the United Way of Yavapai County support and welcome the efforts of the Yavapai Food Council.
During the past three years, our Council (DES) has appreciated the solid step-by-step progress that the Verde Food Council (now Yavapai) has achieved in producing data-driven studies that clearly describe the conditions of widespread hunger and its causes in Yavapai County. These include: Food Bank Recipients in the Verde Valley (2007-08), Free/Reduced Student Meals in Yavapai County Schools (2009), St. Mary’s Deliveries to Verde Valley Emergency Food Providers (2010-11), Ending Child Hunger in Yavapai County (2012), and School meals in Yavapai County Schools: School Meal Gaps (2013).
– Ginny Hildebrand, Chair DES Hunger Advisory Council
Yavapai Food Council remains dedicated to identifying gaps in the emergency food industry, supporting efforts toward local, sustainable food sources and mobilizing local resources to reduce hunger in local communities, as well as countywide.