After Jose Rodriguez lost his job last month due to the impact of COVID-19, he reached out to ICM Food & Clothing Bank to help put food on the table. Normally, Rodriguez would need to take a bus to pick up two hefty boxes of groceries and pantry staples from ICM’s downtown Phoenix distribution center and haul them home in the blazing springtime heat.
But thanks to a unique partnership between ICM and U.S. Bank, both boxes were delivered directly to Rodriguez’s front door.
U.S. Bank donated the use of its “Made in Arizona” food truck and a driver to ICM to make deliveries to people who otherwise would have to walk, bike or take the bus to pick up their twice-monthly groceries. Having debuted earlier this year, the original purpose of the food truck was to highlight small business restaurant owners by offering free food alongside the opportunity for consumers to learn more about the new U.S. Bank mobile banking app. The truck was more than halfway through its Arizona swing when the COVID-19 stay-at-home guidelines brought the campaign to a halt.
“We had this terrific truck sitting idle at a time when there is so much need, so we immediately started to think of ways we could use it to help our community,” said Amy Anderson-Vali, Consumer & Business Banking Market Leader for U.S. Bank in Arizona. “Once we heard about the challenges ICM Food Bank’s clients were facing, it sounded like a great solution.”
ICM Food Bank has seen a 600 percent surge in new clients since the COVID-19 crisis began, said its director Beth Fiorenza. Many have recently lost jobs, or are suddenly dealing with additional mouths to feed as schools have closed or family members have moved in. Many of the larger food banks in the Phoenix area are set up for drive-through pickups, but ICM’s size and location doesn’t allow for that. Instead, clients must park and walk in – or often take public transportation, or walk, to pick up their food.
“These boxes of food can weigh as much as 30 to 40 pounds, and when you’re talking about balancing that on a bike or walking home with it, it’s very hard – especially in this heat,” Fiorenza said, on a 103-degree day in early May. “A lot of times they aren’t able to take all of the food in the box and it’s so disheartening to see that they have to leave food behind.”
The senior population, in particular, is grateful to have the food delivered to their doors, Fiorenza said. The food truck began making deliveries at the beginning of May, and averages about a dozen a day throughout the Valley.
Evette Dossie, a senior, recently began using ICM to help feed her four grandkids and foster children who are now living with her.
“The food helps a lot, especially at the end of the month when funds get low,” she said. And as her utility bill is spiking along with the heat in Arizona, “it’s really helping.”
Written by Joyzelle Davis of U.S. Bank. Learn more about ICM Food & Clothing Bank or about how U.S. Bank has expedited and adapted its community giving programs in response to COVID-19.