United Food Bank’s history is deeply-rooted in the East Valley and dates back to July of 1983 when it began operations as United Food Distribution Center, Inc. The Food Bank was started as a nonprofit joint venture among East Valley cities and their respective United Ways to gather and distribute food to East Valley organizations that were helping feed those in need. The Food Bank assisted 28 different community partners that first year, and some are still partners today like the Mesa Senior Center, The Apache Junction Food Bank, and the Chandler Christian Community Center. In 1985, the Food Bank’s service geography expanded to its current area of Gila, Pinal and southern Apache and Navajo Counties along with the original service area in the East Valley of Maricopa County.
The Food Bank has grown to meet the increased need from people in our service area. Our service area of 19,608 square miles includes some of the most remote areas in the state. Places like Sanders, Arizona, where there are only a couple places to purchase food, and the next town is 40 miles away.
To serve the most people possible, United Food Bank collaborates with more than 200 partner agencies that operate more than 260 separate programs helping feed families, children and seniors. In 2015/2016 fiscal year, the Food Bank distributed 26,047,312 pounds of food totaling 21,706,093 meals to hungry people.