The mission of Borderlands Food Bank is to improve the quality of life of the people of Santa Cruz County, through our direct client service program, State of Arizona, other cities around the Nation and our sister city Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and its surrounding municipalities through food distribution. Working in conjunction with social clubs, churches, civic organizations, food banks and national hunger relief organizations, Borderlands is determined to help wipe out the malnutrition and extinguish the flames of hunger in Arizona and across the Nation through the distribution of nutritious vegetables and fruits.
Borderlands services communities throughout the Arizona region including: Flagstaff, Tucson, Phoenix, Wilcox, Benson, Casa Grande, San Luis and many other cities. Our food bank is also very active in helping our sister city of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, with produce through our direct client service program and through our agency distribution program. It is our goal to continue to rescue produce and be a positive presence across Arizona, parts of the Nation and Mexico.
Yolanda Soto - President CEO
2661 N. Donna Avenue
Nogales, AZ 85621
Tel: 520 287-2627
Fax: 520 842-2134
Borderlands Food Bank can trace its history back to the early 1990’s. In 1992, the Mariposa Community Health Center (MCHC) formed a committee to explore the possibility of starting a food bank to provide assistance to the hungry in Santa Cruz County.
The following year, the MCHC met with the Community Food Bank in Tucson to ask for help with publicity and fund-raising. Community Food Bank provided MCHC with $10,200 to pay rent on a small warehouse in Nogales, Arizona. A grant from FEMA allowed them to provide emergency food boxes.
In May 1994, Community Food Bank took over the management of the Nogales food bank from MCHC, and decided that the food bank, which they named Borderland Food Bank, should become a non-profit entity. A Board of Directors was formed, and in January 1995 Yolanda Soto was appointed Executive Director. Borderland remained under the management of Community Food Bank until 1996, when at the urging of Ms. Soto, it it became an independent entity. In August 1997, Borderland Food Bank received its 501(c3) designation.
Over time, Borderland eventually outgrew its original facility. It currently leases a 13,000 sq.ft. warehouse in Nogales. Two “cold rooms” were installed in the facility, to better maintain the integrity of the donated product.
Currently, Borderland receives between 30 to 40 million pounds of produce annually from over 120 donors. Less than 1% of the donations are non-produce - milk, canned soup, etc. Of the produce donated, usually up to 15-20% is not usable; it is either sent to local farmers as animal feed, trucked to the San Xavier Reservation for the U of A compost Cat Program, or trucked to the local landfill. Some of the remaining produce is not saleable for cosmetic reasons, but is perfectly edible.
Some of the produce is sorted; the majority is not, and all is left in its own packaging. For economic reasons the Food Bank cannot do this job solely with its own employees. Since 1996 it has partnered with the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC). ADOC currently allows inmates from a local facility to visit four times per week to provide assistance. Other local organizations, from the local courts to the Boy Scouts, provide community service volunteers to help Borderland employees throughout the facility.
The Food Bank distributes food to over 389 agencies, and to individual families through its Client Service Program, as follows: Santa Cruz County 20%, the rest of Arizona 27%, rest of the US 17%, International (Mexico) 16%, 9% animal feed, 5% compost, the remainder classified as waste.
In January 2012, Borderland became a division of the Diabetes Prevention and Aid Fund, and added an “S” to its name, becoming Borderlands Food Bank.
Borderlands is a nonprofit organization with a 501 ( c ) 3 designation – EIN 86-0804743.