By Mila Besich Lira
Copper Area News Publishers
In the community of Superior, there is a natural sense of neighbors helping neighbors, families coming together in times of crisis and joy. Year after year headlines in the Superior Sun told how the community comes together, often despite their differences. Feeding each other has long been a priority for the community.
Decades ago there was not an official food bank in the community, but rather a small group of committed individuals who kept a project running called Project Happy Face. These selfless volunteers were the go to people in Superior when a family needed a hand up in times of need. Project Happy Face volunteers’ major project each year was to ensure that everyone who needed a holiday meal had a holiday meal or the ingredients to make their own, delivered to their homes. This group would also send special holiday packages to those who just needed a little cheer over the holiday season. These dedicated volunteers set a strong foundation for what would become the Superior Food Bank.
Once long term economic uncertainty became a reality in Superior the need for a dedicated food bank became a necessity, not just a nice thing to do, thus Project Happy Face turned into the Superior Food Bank, a 501c3 non profit, whose mission it is to ensure that no one goes hungry in Superior.
Today the Superior Food Bank is one of the few food banks in Arizona that does not have any paid staff; fifteen volunteers work together each month to order, purchase pack and distribute food. Those volunteers also do all the grant writing and fundraising for the organization. From pancake breakfasts, fried chicken dinners and their annual Valentine spaghetti dinner these volunteers work tirelessly to keep residents of Superior from going hungry. The Town of Superior allows the food bank to operate out of one of their buildings, for no rent. In exchange for the space, the food bank manages the repairs and utilities for the building.
As the holidays approach, the board of the food bank looks forward to the corporate, individual and business support they receive, but they also look most forward to working with the kids at the school, who assist the food bank with a district wide grocery drive.
The Superior Food Bank receives the majority of its food from United Food Bank. When the United Food Bank is low that often means the smaller communities will receive less food.
The cycle of hunger is something that never really ends, the race never complete to feed everyone who needs a meal. Dennis Van Gorp a board member of the food bank explained that as the community lost jobs this year, the demand for food boxes went up. Somehow, someway they continue to find a way to serve everyone who needs food.
The board remains resilient, despite the never ending cycle. Currently their biggest needs are more groceries for the shelves or funds to buy more groceries and they are working on a grant to help purchase a new commercial freezer. The board is also looking for two more board members.
To support the Superior Food Bank or find out if you qualify for their services please contact Denis Van Gorp at or 520-827-0988.