Drive Collected More Than Two Million Pounds of Food in Arizona;
Benefits St. Mary’s Food Bank, & Many Other Food Banks around the State.
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 27 years old in 2019.
And it all takes place at your mailbox.
On Saturday, May 11th, over 230,000 letter carriers nationwide, including over 5,000 here in Arizona will be picking up canned food donations on their regular mail routes during the 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. More than 70 million pounds nationwide was collected in 2018.
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 11th. 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 600-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.
AFTER COLD WEATHER LEADS TO SHORTENED GROWING SEASON IN SOUTHERN ARIZONA — ST. MARY’S IS CALLING FOR DONATIONS
The cold Arizona winter has led to a shorter and less abundant growing season in Southern Arizona, severely impacting donations made to St. Mary’s Food Bank in February and now March of 2019. In some cases the donations are down by as much as 50 percent. That equates to nearly TWO MILLION pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.
St. Mary’s relies on these donations to provide our clients and partners with a well-balanced and nutritious balance of healthy foods. The food bank has been forced to purchase some of the foods that are normally donated in abundance this time of year to keep up with demand.
St. Mary’s is asking the public to please help the Food Bank through this challenging time in one of two ways.
- Donations of canned fruits and vegetables would be greatly appreciated. You can donate at the Food Bank locations in Phoenix 2831 N. 31st Avenue), Surprise (13050 West Elm Street) or at any Goodwill location – there are food donation boxes at the front of each store.
- If folks are still looking for a place to donate the oranges they still have on backyard trees, the Food Bank would gladly accept those donations at the Phoenix and Surprise locations. We have received a LOT of grapefruit in the past few weeks – so we are specifically looking for oranges at this time.
PHOENIX – As the government shutdown enters its third week, federal workers and their families subject to furloughs and working without pay have started to feel the effects at home.
St. Mary’s Food Bank has seen a sharp uptick in the number of families reaching out for help and is stepping up its response by bringing food directly to the affected communities.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees are currently working their normal shifts without pay. To help the TSA families feeling the financial pinch, St. Mary’s will hold a special Mobile Pantry Distribution at the TSA Offices at Gateway Tower (410 North 44th Street, just north of Van Buren Street). St. Mary’s will be providing a balanced and nutritious array of foods for TSA workers to take home.
“No matter what your opinions are about the issues surrounding the shutdown, we can all agree that federal employees and their families are caught in the middle. We want to make sure they know we are here for them and ready to help,” St. Mary’s Food Bank President and CEO Tom Kertis said. “With the shutdown extended into a third week we felt it was time to step up our response. TSA workers are staying on the job without a paycheck. We hope we can provide some food for their families and eliminate one concern during a difficult time.”
With the partial Federal Government Shutdown now entering a third week and Arizona families missing paychecks as a result, St. Mary’s Food Bank is here to provide help to those who suddenly find themselves in in need of emergency food.
For those who have never been to the food bank and are unsure of the process, it Is a simple one. St. Mary’s has more than 500 agency partner locations in the state and one is likely in your neighborhood. You can visit our main locations in Phoenix (3131 West Thomas Road) or Surprise (13050 West Elm Street) for immediate food assistance and information on the closest agency partner near your home to receive food.
You can also call St. Mary’s Food Bank at (602) 242-FOOD or visit our website at stmarysfoodbank.org for more information on receiving food during this difficult time.
This week, St. Mary’s sent 150 emergency food boxes and other assorted staple food items to the Grand Canyon to assist families who work at the park and have been furloughed during the shutdown.
With Thanksgiving now just 17 days away, St. Mary’s Food Bank is more than 7,500 turkeys shy of its goal for its 25th annual Holiday Food Distribution that serves more than 11,000 families.
Of particular concern is that total is more than 1,000 turkeys behind the pace of last year, when the food bank was able to meet its goal a few days before the distribution.
“Thanksgiving comes very early this year – on the 22nd of November – and that combined with a slow start to donations makes for a concerning situation with so little time to reach our goal,” St. Mary’s Director of Media Relations Jerry Brown said. “If you have supported this incredible effort in the past we ask that you remember those in need and donate a turkey to ensure Arizona families will be able to have the comfort of a traditional Thanksgiving meal with their loved ones.”
St. Mary’s is accepting donations at its locations in Phoenix (2831 N. 31st Avenue) and Surprise (13050 West Elm Street) Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm and volunteers will be at 30 Albertsons and Safeway locations for the annual Super Saturday Turkey Drive on Saturday, November 17 to collect your donations of food and funds.
For a map of locations click HERE