Pima County, where Felicia’s Farm is located:
- Accounts for 15% of the state’s total population and 16% of the state’s homeless population.
- One of every 184 residents has experienced homelessness during FY 2015, and the density of homelessness in Pima County is the highest in the state. (AZ DES Homelessness in Arizona, 2015 Report).
- On any given day there are over 3,000 homeless people accessing services. Of those, approximately 22% are children (Homelesness in Tucson, 2010 Report).
- Tucson’s 24.4% poverty rate is one of the highest in the nation, per the 2012 US Census American Community Survey (Arizona’s poverty rate is 17.2%).
The 1991 Public Health Report, Nutrition and health services needs among the homeless, states, “many homeless persons eat fewer meals per day, lack food more often, and are more likely to have inadequate diets and poorer nutritional status than housed U.S. populations. Homeless persons need improved access to food, nutrition, and health services.”(Wiecha, Dwyer, and Dunn-Strohecker, 1991)
Felicia’s Farm chooses to focus on those most in need of fresh produce and protein, the homeless and poorest in our community. Because homeless people often miss meals, it is vital that the meals they do access are nutritious. Soup kitchens are often lacking in donations of protein and fresh produce, two important nutritional elements.
Hunger in our community: Volunteers and visitors to the farm have the satisfaction of knowing they are contributing to their community. They also learn about the issue of hunger – it’s not happening in a foreign land; it’s affecting their neighbors, their classmates, and their co-workers. Felicia’s Farm strives to raise awareness of this issue and provide ways people can help. Our model serves to demonstrate how each of us can make a difference and to provide knowledge, empowerment, and inspiration.