TWGC Takes Part in Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank Activity

Left to right: Shelby Lake, Sandy Lake, Frederick Lake, Leanne Leonard, Mike Bremer, Kathy Bremer

Dana West

The Women’s Giving Circle (TWGC) enjoyed a unique activity during our spring meeting. Led by Leanne Leonard, executive director of the Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank (AFFCB), we participated in an exercise aimed at illustrating the tough choices families with limited incomes face when budgeting. The scenarios presented varied situations, tasked with making monthly spending decisions on essentials such as housing, utilities, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and food. Through this exercise, the significance of AFFCB’s supplementary provisions, including food and essentials, was underscored in aiding our West Valley community.

TWGC members and guests share their experience with the exercise:

* Francey SwimParticipating in the Agua Fria group exercise was eye-opening. With a $3,100 income and two children ages 12 and 14, expenses for a two-bedroom apartment, utilities, car payment, and food left nothing at month-end. It showcased the challenge of living paycheck to paycheck, with no buffer for unexpected costs like medical bills.

* Ruth ShafferThe scenario of a single mother supporting two elementary school-age children with a $2,000 monthly income was enlightening. Factoring in apartment rent, utilities, transportation, and basic necessities, highlighted the crucial role of food banks in ensuring their survival.

* Mickey OsterneckParticipating in the simulation run by the AFFCB was eye-opening. In the scenario, a couple with four children and a $3,500 monthly income navigated budget allocation, highlighting the harsh reality of financial constraints in meeting basic family needs. Even with a decent income, ensuring everyone was adequately fed was a struggle. This experience emphasized the importance of supporting organizations like AFFCB, vital in aiding families facing food insecurity and financial hardship.

* Michelle DevineThe scenario involved a retired couple relying on the husband’s $1,900 Social Security benefits. Despite choosing a modest one-bedroom apartment and a small car, they still fell short by $90 monthly, necessitating reliance on a local food bank. The experience shed light on the harsh reality faced by many retired couples struggling to meet basic needs in today’s economy. It emphasized the widespread hardship within our community, where people struggle with essentials like shelter and food. It highlighted the significance of even small contributionsbe it food, toiletries, or financial aidin easing the burden for those relying on food banks for survival.

In 2023, AFFCB provided support to:

* 41,501 individuals received emergency food assistance3,852 children under 5 years old

* 10,781 daily lunch sacks

* 673 senior food boxes

* Mobile Food Pantries assisted 13,261 people

* 2,179 showers

* 1,106 uniforms

* 2,105 toys to children

* 553 backpacks

* 232 baby care bags

* 461 Thanksgiving food boxes

* 1,037 Christmas food boxes

* Volunteers contributed a total of 12,122 hours.

To explore opportunities for getting involved with the AFFCB, visit their website:

Attention TWGC members: Don’t forget to sign up on Team Cowboy for our Summer Social at the Oasis Pool on Thursday, July 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. To find out more about The Women’s Giving Circle, our mission, and upcoming events, visit our website at