St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance would like to thank The Abbott Fund for awarding a $10,000 grant to our new Backpack program designed to reach the one in four Arizona children who are part of families who suffer from food insecurity.
The backpack program provides non-perishable, easy to prepare, child-friendly food items that children suffering from chronic hunger can take home and eat on the weekends when school breakfast and lunch programs are not open and other resources are not available.
The Abbott Fund was established by Abbott, a global health care company, in 1951, as a philanthropic foundation based in Illinois, United States. The Abbott Fund’s vision is to create healthier communities worldwide. The Abbott Fund invests in ideas that promote science and medical innovation, expand access to health care and strengthen communities around the globe. In partnership with others, The Abbott Fund strives to make a lasting impact on people’s lives and encourage others to take positive action.
“Thank you to The Abbott Fund, not only for helping the world’s first food bank reach more children in our community but for all its many good works around the globe,” St. Mary’s President and CEO Terry Shannon said. “For many children in Arizona, the reality is nutritious food, or any food at all, is in short supply when they are at home. This backpack program attempts to reach as many of those children as possible and it is through partners like The Abbott Fund that ensure that we are able to continue with an eye toward expansion.”
Come enjoy devilish foods, ghoulish drinks and a haunted house that will leave your teeth chattering on Halloween Night.
The “Haunted House For Hunger” will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m on Saturday, Oct 31st at 13528 West Desert Lane in Surprise (major cross streets are Greenway Road and West Pointe Parkway). Admission is a non-perishable food item for St. Mary’s Food Bank. Call (623) 696-9674 for directions and more information.
September 27, 2009 5:04 PM
Art Molay wakes up every day the same as he always has.
On Tuesday and Thursday he prepares for the day, gets in his car and heads over to the St. Mary’s Food Bank in Surprise, where he volunteers for three hour shifts, packing food boxes for the hungry and making meals for underfed children.
The Sun Citian has repeated the same routine for the last five years and joins hundreds of other volunteers whose dedication ensures the food bank meets the demand.
What makes Molay extraordinary, however, is the birthday he celebrated last Tuesday — number 96.
Molay is the oldest volunteer at St. Mary’s, and as it turns out, one of its most dependable.
Molay is part of a group of about 15 seniors from Temple Beth Shalom in Sun City, who volunteer each week at the food bank. Several of the members are in their 90s.
“They’re incredible. Not only are they mentors to the younger folks who come and volunteer with us they carry a living heritage with them,” said Elizabeth Wunsch, volunteer services manager. “You know they’re going to be here. You can count on them. They have an incredible work ethic. They teach by what they do. We can’t keep up with them.”
“Everything they do with a great amount of pride and a great amount of love,” she added.
For Molay, volunteering at the food bank allows him to combine his desire to help the less fortunate and children, who he “just loves,” with ample free time in need of filling.
“When (my wife) passed away I was cornered. I had to have something to do. One of the members of our temple suggested that I try this, and I’m forever grateful to her for doing so because they’re wonderful people, they make me feel at home and it fills in my day for me,” he said. “I feel sorry for some of the people who come here, I really do. I feel I’m very fortunate in that respect. I like keeping busy and being able to help as much as possible. I enjoy it.”
Molay said his “donation of time” to the food bank is a simple way to give back to the community.
“You have to have some innovation of some sort, some stimulus to (volunteer),” he said. “The only compensation you get is knowing that you’re helping people. As long as I can drive, I’m all right. That has always been my worry — that I’m going to become too feeble to drive and then I’m stuck. But so far I’m able to keep up with it physically and mentally (and) I’m happy to help.”
Without the dedication and time from volunteers like Molay and his friends, the food bank wouldn’t be operational, especially when the need has grown so much in light of the economy, food bank officials said.
“Our hours our volunteers provide us give us over 150 full-time staff positions. There is no way in the world we could function without them,” Wunsch said. “And this year our numbers have gone up 120 percent … we got slammed and the (volunteers) kept up. Whatever you give them to do, they want more. They actually are competitive, too.”
And unlike other St. Mary’s locations around the Valley, the west side facility is largely dependent on senior volunteers like Molay.
“What’s great about the volunteer base we have here is their consistency. We know every Tuesday we can count on this group,” said Irma Leyendecker, director of volunteer services. “Whereas some of our other facilities (we’re unsure) what we’ll have each day, here we know we can count on these people. It’s a close-knit family.”
For Molay, his second career as a volunteer is just getting started. He said he feels, “as good as ever” and plans to continue “as long as he’s physically able.”
“I’m lucky to be able to keep active,” he said. “That, I’m thankful for. I don’t have any secret … except I chose the right parents. Good genes. There’s no secret to it — just luck.”
For information about volunteer services or donations, visit www.firstfoodbank.org or call 602-242-FOOD.
Erin Turner may be reached at 623-876-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sure, it’s cool now, and so are you! But, being Arizona and being Phoenix… that will soon change. Why not BEAT the HEAT with Hunger 101. Be Cool, cooler than you already are that is.
Try chillin’ with Hunger 101 training sessions in April, May and June. We can’t guarantee climate control into July or August, after all this is Phoenix. We’re ready to be cool with you when you attend our April Hunger 101 training sessions listed here.