Catholic Charities’ affordable housing communities, developed by Housing for Hope, provide more than just a roof over residents’ heads. Afterschool programs, financial and computer training classes, events, and community resources create an environment where people thrive and discover a sense of belonging.
Although residents are housed, they may still struggle with food insecurity. That’s why Catholic Charities’ affordable housing communities offer onsite food pantries.
Ensuring Access to Nutritious Food
All six housing communities in Central Arizona have food pantries. Thanks to St. Mary’s Food Bank, the pantries at Ironwood Village Apartments and Rosewood Court are open to both residents and the community. Community partners like Tempe Community Action Agency and Bay Equity Loans also help provide food at other sites.
The food pantry at Rosewood Court began in 2018 when the complex opened and is available every second and fourth Thursday at 10 a.m. Ironwood Village’s food pantry started in the fall of 2020 and is open every second and fourth Friday at 9 a.m.
Items available include produce, bread, dairy, eggs and meat. The pantries are sometimes able to provide goods like diapers or hygiene items.
Food Pantry Participation Grows
Over the past two years, participation at both the Ironwood Village and Rosewood Court pantries has nearly doubled. Rosewood Court now serves about 75 families per distribution, and Ironwood Village serves about 120 families. Ironwood Village’s pantry has grown to include a refrigerated truck to distribute food, provided by St. Mary’s Food Bank.
"While we may not be able to help residents pay their rent, we can provide food and grocery support that may help them to offset their budget and make ends meet,” said Resident Services Specialist Rebecca Zeimet. Most of the clients participating in the food pantries are regulars who bring family or friends.
Sharing Food Builds Connections
Resident Services staff have the joy of greeting clients by name and having meaningful conversations with them. This fosters a community where residents help one other, often picking up food for neighbors or helping carry food boxes.
“If I had to think of one word that describes what you do here, it is empathy,” said George*, a food pantry regular. When he comes to the pantry, it means so much that everyone knows his name and that he has that personal connection.
Volunteers Play an Essential Role
Food pantries require a team effort to be successful, and volunteers are part of that team. James has been volunteering at Rosewood Court’s food pantry since it opened in 2018. He helps with tasks such as lifting heavy boxes, passing out food and cleaning up after the pantry closes.
“[I love to] see people smiling and laughing and getting what they want,” James said. It’s a meaningful experience for him to give back to God and get blessings in return.
*Name was changed to protect client privacy.