Update from Tom Kertis, President and CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank

Update from our President and CEO

Dear Friends,

I wanted to give you an update on the activities at St. Mary’s Food Bank. You may have seen a story on the news, but in case you haven’t, here’s our latest update.

Grocery stores are doing a good job restocking their shelves, but the public continues to shop, meaning that donations to the food bank from our many grocery store partners is down.

We were fortunate to have 50 soldiers from the National Guard help us Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  They were a tremendous help and worked in our warehouse to move food with forklifts and pallet jacks and got food orders ready for our hundreds of partner agencies.

They also helped us pack thousands of food boxes and assisted many clients that came to us for food. We just received notification that they will be here to help us again next week and we are so grateful.

With the National Guard and the outpouring of support from the community to volunteer, we ask everyone to SIGN UP ONLINE if you would like to help.

We are restricting the number of people who can volunteer per shift and we are enforcing our new favorite term, “Social Distancing.”  Remember, it’s best to stay home if you are not feeling well, have a compromised immune system, are elderly, etc. Take care of yourself FIRST!

As you may know, we give food to more than 600 nonprofit organizations throughout Arizona – giving them food (at no cost) so they can give it to their clients in need. About 40 of these agencies have closed or have greatly reduced their hours so we are working to get food into these areas now so frightened families are not going without food.

Yesterday, I learned something that surprised me, but is to be expected. The number of people going to the “Get Help” page on our website has increased 700% comparing the first half of the March (before we were hit with our “new normal”) and the last half of March. From March 1 – 12, we had 3,500 people go to our “Get Help” page. From March 12 – 26, we had 25,000 visitors to this page.

We commit to you that we are here. We are here to help – and we will continue to help. If we have to give out every last can of food, gallon of milk and bag of apples that we have in the warehouse, we will do that. Whatever it takes to help our community. No one should go without food.

Thank you friends,

Tom Kertis

President and CEO

St. Mary’s Food Bank