St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance Announces Sponsorship Of Our 2018 Summer Food Service Program

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance Announces Sponsorship Of Our 2018 Summer Food Service Program

Food Served in Partnership with School, Church and Recreation Programs

Phoenix – St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance again assumes sponsorship of the 2018 Summer Food Service Program for Children and will provide meals at the following locations.  The purpose of the program is to help ease demand summer food, particularly among children who take part in the free breakfast and lunch programs during the school year.

Meals will be made available free to all eligible children in the following OPEN sites 18 years of age and under within the approved geographical area without discrimination against any child because of race, color, national origin, sex age or disability.   Any person who believes that he/she has been discriminated against in any USDA related activity should write immediately to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.

Listed below are the dates, times and locations meals will be provided for children in more than a dozen cities around Arizona. Please contact the person listed to check on space and enrollment qualifications.

For an interactive map, click HERE.

St. Mary’s Food Bank Receives $17K Grant from APS for Backpack and Emergency Food Box Programs

St. Mary’s Food Bank Receives $17K Grant from APS for Backpack and Emergency Food Box Programs

With schools closed due to teacher walkouts, St. Mary’s Food Bank staff and volunteers have been working diligently to make sure Arizona children and their families don’t go hungry. But long after the students are back in school, the work of St. Mary’s will continue. Since 1967, this organization has been a reliable source of nutritious food for thousands of Arizonans who are struggling to make ends meet.

St. Mary’s is the state’s largest food bank and without it, far too many people in our state would go without. Over the past year, the organization distributed nearly 87 million pounds of food to its partner agencies, which was used to prepare meals for thousands of low-income, hungry Arizonans. St. Mary’s also served 1.3 million after-school and summer meals at 246 program sites for children who did not have one waiting at home, distributed over 25,000 “backpacks” of food to children who were at risk of missing meals on weekends and during school breaks, and distributed over 700,000 emergency food boxes filled with nutritious perishable and non-perishable food items to families dealing with an emergency situation.

APS has been a longtime partner of St. Mary’s Food Bank, providing financial support, donations, and teams of volunteers to help with food sorting and packing.

“We are so fortunate to have partners like APS who provide support at all three legs of our triangle – financial support, food donations, and volunteering,” said Jerry Brown, St. Mary’s Director of Public Relations. “When APS received our grant application and saw we had a need to support our backpack and emergency food box programs, they came through with the funding we needed.”

APS recently awarded St. Mary’s Food Bank with a $17,000 grant. The funds will be split between two programs, with $14,000 going toward the backpack program in Maricopa County and $3,000 allocated for the emergency food box program in Flagstaff. This translates into 2,000 backpacks and over 400 emergency food boxes.

Brown explains that the backpack is a bag of food that kids can carry or put in their backpack. Kids will pick it up after school on Fridays, typically every week during the school year and sometimes into summer.

Originally intended to provide nourishment for the child only, St. Mary’s soon learned that the food was being shared with siblings and parents as well.

“We increased the amount of food and instead of including single serving items, we made it more a family-style pack with food that the family can use to make meals for the weekend.”

The food box program, which the grant will fund in Flagstaff, provides emergency boxes of food that are designed to last a family of four for three days. The boxes typically contain pasta, rice, canned fruits, canned vegetables, and when available, protein such as canned meat, tuna, or soup. Brown says the food boxes are usually supplemented with donated food like additional protein, produce, and bread.

Those who wish to support the work of St. Mary’s Food Bank are invited to provide financial support, food donations, or volunteer to sort and pack food.

Brown says in the past year, St. Mary’s had 86,418 individuals and corporate groups volunteer at their facilities, providing a total of 272,303 volunteer hours.

“That’s an equivalent of 131 full time employees!” said Brown, noting that the St. Mary’s volunteering experience is always a fun one, with music cranking and an assembly line-style setup for the boxing and bagging of food.

The 26th Annual ‘STAMP OUT HUNGER’ Food Drive – Saturday, May 12th

The 26th Annual ‘STAMP OUT HUNGER’ Food Drive - Saturday, May 12th 1

The largest single-day food drive in the United States – one which helps St. Mary’s Food Bank and other Arizona Food Banks stocked during the long, hot summer – turns 26 years old in 2018.

And it all takes place at your mailbox.

On Saturday, May 12th, over 230,000 letter carriers nationwide, including over 5,000 here in the Valley will be picking up canned food donations on their regular mail routes during the 26th Annual National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) “Stamp out Hunger” Food Drive.

This drive began right here in Arizona more than 40 years ago.  In 1976, Phoenix land Glendale letter carriers from NALC Branch 576 began picking up food donations in their own pickup trucks for St. Mary’s Food Bank. That soon evolved into a national effort that has collected more than a 1.5 billion pounds over the last 24 years for Americans suffering from food insecurity. A record total of 80 million pounds, the most food donations EVER in one day, was collected in 2016.

Throughout the week leading up to the food drive, local letter carriers will be dropping off reminder post cards and special grocery bags to both city and rural residents’ mailboxes. The letter carriers encourage those who can help to fill the bags, or any other grocery bag, with nonperishable food items and leave them by their mailboxes on the morning of Saturday May 12th. Your letter carrier will do the rest, making sure the food gets to the one in five Arizonans – and one in four children – dealing with hunger issues in our state.

The hot summer months are almost here in Arizona. Food demand increases with children out of school, while donations dwindle with many residents escaping to cooler climates. With 24 percent of Arizona children living in poverty, and tough economic times challenging the community further, Arizona Food Banks rely on “Stamp Out Hunger” to provide that much-needed influx of food. St. Mary’s distributes more than 40,000 emergency food boxes each month, as well as stocking the 500-plus agency partners it serves.

Items most needed by the food banks include canned fruit and vegetables, soups and meals in a can, pasta, peanut butter, tuna, rice and cereal.

For more information on this event, visit www.helpstampouthunger.com.  For statistics on poverty and hunger, media inquiries, photos or interview requests, please contact Jerry Brown at (602) 343-3160, (602) 684-0939 or jjbrown@firstfoodbank.org.

St. Mary’s Goes Mobile To Increase Efforts To Feed Children And Families : Operation Meal Kit Beginning May 1st

With the school closures rolling into a second week and food crisis for hundreds of thousands of Arizona reaching emergency levels, St. Mary’s Food Bank will move to first-responder status beginning on Tuesday, May 1 and take food outreach to the streets with “Operation Meal Kit.”

In addition to ramping up our kids meal program by 25 percent to more than 9,000 and offering emergency food boxes at hundreds of locations for all, St. Mary’s will attack the crisis head-on and fan out across Phoenix and the north and west Valley to hand out specially designed meal kits at locations selected to reach as many at-risk kids and families as possible.

“St. Mary’s has been a first-responder to fire and flood disasters in northern Arizona and hurricane and tornado disasters across the country,” Food Bank President and CEO Tom Kertis said. “But with a situation in our own backyard reaching disaster level, it’s time to aggressively step up our response and reach as many kids and families who continue to struggle as possible.”

Kits featuring peanut butter, jelly, breads and cereals will be handed out from 2-6 p.m. – specially designed to give working parents an opportunity to stop by on the way home from work – at these locations. Look for the St. Mary’s Food Bank truck and the smiling volunteers ready to hand out this meal kits at the following locations with more to be announced on Monday:

Church of God Prophecy –  5141 N. 23rd Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85015

Avondale Resource Center – 328 W. Western Avenue, Avondale AZ 85323

Epworth United Methodist Church – 4802 N. 59th Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85003

Santo Nino Community Center – 3206 West Melvin Street, Phoenix AZ 85009

Peoria Community Center – 8335 W, Jefferson Street, Peoria AZ 85345

Pure Heart Church – 14240 N. 43rd Avenue, Glendale AZ  85306

For more information on “Operation Meal Kit” and more information on emergency food options, visit www.firstfoodbank.org and look for the “School Closures/Get Help” section on the main page.

School Closure Statement

In response to inquiries about the scheduled school closures on Thursday April 26, St. Mary’s Food Bank will be available to families and children in need in the following ways:

 

  • St. Mary’s currently distributes more than 7,000 after-school meals daily to at-risk kids at more than 150 sites around the state. More than 100 of those sites are not located on school properties and will not be affected.

 

The Food Bank will continue to operate those after school sites and are in the process of identifying additional temporary sites to replace the school locations to make sure those children continue to receive food.

St. Mary’s also has plans to increase meal production by up to 25 percent if schools remain closed beyond Friday.

 

  • For families who do not participate in normal feeding program and are looking to emergency food for their children, please visit the list of St. Mary’s agency partner sites at firstfoodbank.org/get-help to find the nearest agency location to obtain an emergency food box – a 2-3 day supply of non-perishable food for families that includes canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, pasta, beans and other items. Families should bring identification and a proof of address with them.

 

  • In addition both St. Mary’s locations in Phoenix (3131 West Thomas Road) and Surprise (13050 West Elm Street) will provide grab-and-go children’s meals from 9 am to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Families can also obtain an emergency food box at both locations in addition to the children’s meals.

FDA Investigating Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Likely Linked to Chopped Romaine from Yuma Growing Region

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses.

Fast Facts

  • The FDA is investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce sourced from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona.
  • The CDC reports that 35 people in 11 states have become ill. These people reported becoming ill in the time period of March 22, 2018 to March 31, 2018. Twenty-six (93%) of 28 people interviewed reported consuming romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started. Most people reported eating a salad at a restaurant, and romaine lettuce was the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten. The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads. At this time, ill people are not reporting whole heads or hearts of romaine.
  • Preliminary information collected by FDA, in conjunction with federal, state, and local partners, indicates that the chopped romaine lettuce that ill people ate was likely grown or originated from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. No specific grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified at this time.
  • The FDA recommends that consumers ask restaurants and other food service establishments where their romaine lettuce originated, and avoid chopped romaine lettuce that originated from Yuma, Arizona. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it. If you have already purchased products containing chopped romaine lettuce, including bagged salads, salad mixes, or prepared salads, throw them away.
  • The FDA is continuing to investigate this outbreak and will share more information as it becomes available.
  • Consumers who have symptoms of STEC infection should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care. Although many infections resolve in 5-7 days, they can result in serious illness, including a potentially serious condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
  • The current outbreak is not related to a recent multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections from November to December 2017 linked to leafy greens consumption. People in the previous outbreak were infected with a different DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.

What is the Problem and What is being Done About It?

The FDA and the CDC, along with state and local health officials, are investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections. There are 35 cases in 11 states: Connecticut (2), Idaho (8), Illinois (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (7), New York (2), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (9), Virginia (1) and Washington (1). The 35 illnesses occurred in the time period of March 22, 2018 to March 31, 2018. The current outbreak is not related to a recent multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to leafy greens. People in the previous outbreak were infected with a different DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.

Preliminary information collected by FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) network, in conjunction with federal, state, and local partners, indicates that the prepared chopped romaine lettuce that ill people ate was likely grown or originated from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. This region generally supplies romaine to the U.S. during November-March each year. No specific grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified at this time. The FDA currently does not have information to indicate that whole-head romaine lettuce or hearts of romaine have contributed to this outbreak.

CORE is continuing to work with federal, state, and local partners to determine what people ate before they became ill, where they bought and consumed it, and to identify the distribution chain of these foods — all with the goal of identifying any common food or points in the distribution chain where the food might have become contaminated.

In a typical traceback effort, CDC and the FDA identifies clusters of people who became ill, especially in different geographical regions and works to trace the food eaten by those made ill to a common source. In situations where there is no packaging available for the reported or suspect product that may help conduct a traceback, FDA scientists and investigators work with federal and state partners and companies to collect, review and analyze hundreds–sometimes thousands–of invoices and shipping documents. This process is labor-intensive, but also dependent on the availability and quality of records.

What are the Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 Infection?

The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. If there is fever, it is usually not very high (less than 101 degrees Fahrenheit /less than 38.5 degrees Celsius). Most people get better within 5–7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.

Around 5–10 percent of those who are diagnosed with STEC infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication, known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor. Most people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die. People who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately. Persons with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working (acute renal failure), but they may also develop other serious problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and neurologic problems.

Who is at Risk?

People of any age can become infected with Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) E. coli. Children under the age of 5 years, adults older than 65, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness, including HUS, but even healthy older children and young adults can become seriously ill.

What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need To Do?

Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators should not sell or serve any chopped romaine lettuce from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. If you cannot determine the source of your chopped romaine lettuce, do not sell or serve it. The FDA currently does not have information to indicate that whole-head romaine lettuce or hearts of romaine have contributed to this outbreak.

Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators should always take steps to avoid the cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with potentially contaminated products. Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators should always take steps to adequately control the temperature of cut leafy greens and to avoid cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with potentially contaminated products. To prevent cross contamination, you should follow the steps below:

  • Wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators where potentially contaminated products were stored.
  • Wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products.
  • Wash hands with hot water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • In accordance with the FDA Food Code 2017, cut leafy greens, including romaine lettuce,  require time/temperature control for safety and should be refrigerated at 41°F or lower.

Regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces and utensils used in food preparation may help to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.

What Do Consumers Need To Do?

Consumers should ask retailers where their romaine lettuce was sourced from and not eat or buy chopped romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona.

If you have already bought products containing chopped romaine lettuce, such as bagged salads, salad mixes or prepared salads, throw them away and do not eat them.

At this time, the FDA does not have information to indicate that whole-head romaine lettuce or hearts of romaine have contributed to this outbreak.

Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. It is recommended that they wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.

For refrigerators and other food preparation surfaces and food cutting utensils that may have come in contact with contaminated foods, it is very important that the consumers thoroughly clean these areas and items.

Consumers should follow these simple steps:

  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Wipe up spills in the refrigerator immediately and clean the refrigerator regularly.
  • Always wash hands with hot, soapy water following the cleaning and sanitization process.
  • Persons who think they might have become ill from eating potentially contaminated foods should consult their health care provider.

Who Should be Contacted?

People who think they might have symptoms of an E. coli infection should consult their health care provider.

People with questions about food safety can call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the fda.gov website: http://www.fda.gov.

Source:

U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), “FDA Investigating Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Likely Linked to Chopped Romaine from Yuma Growing Region” Message to recipient. 13, April 2018. Web.

Volunteer Spotlight – April 2018

Jane has been a proud volunteer for the YWCA for over 14 years. She helps out twice a week with the food pantry that offers fresh food such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, bread, and pasta to the seniors.

“It feels good to help those who otherwise could not do for themselves.”

What has kept her volunteering with the YWCA for so long? Laughter and friends.

“I laugh a lot here and have a good time. The YWCA has good people and programs that I learn a lot from. It is helpful on every level!”

Volunteer of the Month: Jeffery Ryanson – Ozanam Manor

Jeffrey rides his bike to our shelter, regardless of the temperature outside. He always arrives early with a smile and kind word, and a piece of candy for residents and staff. “He is a true Candy Man”. He is always willing to do whatever needs to be done at the shelter.

Recently, he has taken on the additional responsibility of assisting us in covering for our Facilities Manager who has been off ill for several weeks. Specifically, he has picked up meals, shopped for supplies, stocked supplies, cleaned the kitchen, made minor repairs, assisted residents, performed dorm and site inspections, assisted with breakfast prep & serving, assisted with service visits, covered phones & assisted in the office. He always wishes staff & clients a blessed day!

He is a true blessing at Ozanam Manor and we are truly thankful for everything he does and the wonderful way he does it. He is truly a hardworking, kind, & generous man that we are very fortunate to have as a volunteer at Ozanam Manor.

Great work Jeffrey!

Culver’s Snowbird Food Drive

Attention snowbirds! Clean out your cupboards and help feed the hungry before heading back home and earn a tasty treat from Culver’s!

Now through April 12th, donate five non-perishable food items at any of 10 Culver’s locations and be rewarded with a free one-scoop dessert item. Feed the hungry and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time!

The following Culver’s locations are participating in the St. Mary’s Snowbird Food Drive. Gather up your cans and enjoy the rewards of giving back!

1. Culver’s Chandler – 3155 West Ray Road, Chandler

2. Culver’s Mesa – 1263 Crismon Road, Mesa

3. Culver’s East Phoenix – 825 East Camelback Road, Phoenix

4. Culver’s Surprise – 16145 West Bell Road, Surprise

5. Culver’s Peoria – 8271 West Ludlow, Peoria

6. Culver’s Glendale – 5127 N. 99th Avenue, Glendale

7. Culver’s MetroCenter – 10225 N 28th Dr, Phoenix

8. Culver’s Scottsdale – 8668 East Shea Blvd, Scottsdale

9. Culver’s Verrado – 1540 N. Verrado Way, Buckeye

10. Culver’s Avondale – 1025 N. Avondale Blvd, Avondale

Dolly Sanchez Memorial Easter Egg Hunt Celebrates 42 Years On Saturday, March 31

A West Valley tradition will celebrate 42 years of unforgettable memories when the Dolly Sanchez Memorial Easter Egg Hunts are held on Saturday, March 31 from 8 a.m. to noon at Peoria Sports Complex.

Admission and parking are free with a canned food donation to benefit the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. Some activities require a nominal fee. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase.

Held annually  on the Saturday before Easter, this event not only offers Easter egg candy hunts for eight different ages groups, but lots of fun and entertainment for the entire family. Come enjoy the entertainment, make and take crafts, carnival games, inflatable attractions, petting zoo, pony rides and much more. And don’t forget your camera for memories that will last a lifetime.

The candy hunts begin with 1-year olds at 8:20 a.m.; 2-year-olds at 8:45 a.m.; 3-year-olds at 9:10 a.m.; 4-year-olds at 9:30 a.m.; 5-year-olds at 9:50 a.m.; 6-year-olds at 10:10 a.m.; 7 and 8-year-olds at 10:25 a.m. and 9 and 10-year-olds at 10:40 am. Family scavenger hunts will be held from 8-11 a.m.

The Easter Egg Hunts were initiated in 1976 by Dolly Sanchez, who was a member of the Peoria Community Action Program and Parks and Recreation Board. Because of the success of the hunts, coupled with the city’s growth, the Peoria Community Services Department/Special Events was asked to help in 1983. Thus, a 35-year partnership has developed to improve and expand this fun-filled family event. Through the years, the Easter Egg Hunts from Varney Park, to seven Peoria neighborhood parks, and finally in 1994 to Peoria Sports Complex.