Sedona Community Food Bank is now a Certified Sustainable Business

Sedona Community Food Bank is now a Certified Sustainable Business at the Innovator/Silver level from the Sustainability Alliance.

cathleen-healy-baizaSedona Community Food Bank distributes food to an average of 165 families per week, some of whom are homeless. The lean operation is run by two part-time staff members, including the director, Cathleen Healy-Baiza, and 128 volunteers.  While the program was started nearly 40 years ago by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, it became its own 501(c)(3) in the 1980’s to provide enhanced services.

In addition to getting food to those in need, the program reduces food waste in our community. Several grocery stores and restaurants donate surplus food. “Ugly” fruits and veggies are sorted. They distribute what is safe to eat and the remainder is donated to an animal sanctuary. Also, the food bank shares any extra resources with other local food pantries.

The Food Bank is energy-efficient. The refrigerators were replaced in 2015 and their used van doesn’t require refrigeratifood-shelveson because it only makes short, local trips. They installed motion-detection lights in bathrooms, soon will add them in the hallway and kitchen.

They recycle all materials that Sedona Recycles accepts. “We’re also thinking about banning plastic bags,” Healy-Baiza explains. “We can give out reusable bags and cardboard boxes. The public can donate used boxes roughly the size of wine cases too.”

Sustainability AllianceHealy-Baiza likes to lead by example. “Our volunteer base will follow anything I model myself. I’m always looking for ways to create less waste and some of the best ideas come from the volunteers.” In fact, Healy-Baiza and her team have reduced food waste in the operation by 90 percent.

September through May is the busiest time of year for the Sedona Community Food Bank, only made worse by the pandemic. Shopping online these days? You can even ship boxes of non-perishable food to their address at 680 Sunset Dr., Sedona, AZ 86336. See who else is certified.