ABC15’S “OPERATION SANTA CLAUS” KICKS-OFF NOV. 14

ABC15 viewers can feed a family – make a kid happy and earn a chance to win a new vehicle!

The 19th annual “Operation Santa Claus” holiday charity drive will kick-off Nov. 14 on ABC15, and every person who contributes will have a chance to win a brand-new vehicle.

“Operation Santa Claus” is an Arizona tradition. It’s a partnership between ABC15 and Sanderson Ford to collect food, toys, clothes and monetary donations for Arizona charities.

This year’s charities are: St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, Special Olympics Arizona, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), Military Assistance Mission (MAM) and Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC).

Operation Santa Claus runs through Dec. 18 and culminates the following day with a “human chain” of volunteers who help deliver all the collected goods to Arizona families in need.

Donation drop-off locations:
• ABC15 Studios – 515 North 44th St. in Phoenix
• Sanderson Ford – 6400 North 51st Ave. in Glendale
• Sanderson Lincoln – 2121 West Bell Rd. in Phoenix
• All of The UPS Store locations across the Valley
• Authorized Operation Santa Claus events listed at givetotheclaus.com

Online donations can also be made anytime throughout the campaign at givetotheclaus.com.

Donors who contribute five dollars or more to Operation Santa Claus will be entered to win a brand- new vehicle. Sanderson Ford and Lincoln will randomly select one lucky donor to win the choice of a new Ford F150 SuperCrew or Lincoln MKZ – luxury sedan. Fifteen finalists will also receive a $100 Visa gift card. The winner will be announced on Dec. 19 during ABC15’s Sonoran Living at 9 a.m.

ABC15 and Sanderson Ford and Lincoln are proud to partner with The UPS Store locations, Walmart, iHeartMedia, Bonneville Media, Hubbard Radio, Entercom Radio, Arizona Diamondbacks, Four Peaks Brewing and Papa Johns Pizza for this year’s drive. Among the many events taking place, Participating Metro Phoenix Walmart stores will be stuffing the sleigh on Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. ABC15 and Valley radio stations will be promoting this festive opportunity to give.

ABC15 and Valley radio stations will host a Claus-A-Thon on Dec. 4 to flood the airwaves with the giving spirit. Throughout the day, ABC15 will heavily promote the need for donations on all platforms. ABC15 will have a volunteer-staffed donation phone bank from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“It’s grown every year for the past 19 years and I’m so proud of our employees and partners working together towards the goal of hitting the one- million- dollar mark for the fifth year in a row said David Kimmerle, president of Sanderson Ford and Sanderson Lincoln. “We need to do it again. Hundreds of families throughout the Valley are counting on us. I really believe the community can and will come together to raise the bar one more time.”

“The holidays are such a special time of year and we want to give everyone a chance to enjoy them,” said Anita Helt, vice-president and general manager at ABC15. “ABC15 is proud to be part of a community project that consistently takes action to help our neighbors in need. We could not do this without our partners who willingly dig deep every year and give.”

For more information go to givetotheclaus.com.

Walmart, Sam’s Club and St. Mary’s Food Bank Kick-Off 2019 “Fight Hunger. Spark Change” Campaign

Last year’s Campaign Raised More Than $240,000 for St. Mary’s Food Bank

One in eight Americans and one in seven Arizonans struggle with hunger.

To raise awareness and combat the issue, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Feeding America® and St. Mary’s Food Bank are kicking off its sixth annual nationwide “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” (FHSC) campaign, which will run from April 22 to May 20.

Last year, the FHSC Campaign resulted in a donation of 1.67 million meals to St. Mary’s, helping the food bank pay for important client programs including the Mobile Pantry Program, which drops food into more than 40 of the more impoverished areas of the state, giving surrounding residents access to more supplemental food for their families.

Walmart volunteers will team with St. Mary’s and neighborhood volunteers to distribute Mobile Pantry food to clients on Thursday, April 25 at the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church (1401 East Jefferson Street in Phoenix) from 9-11 a.m.

More than 200 families receive food from this mobile pantry site twice a month and represents how “Fight Hunger, Spark Change” impacts the hungry all over the country.

Walmart and Sam’s Club now invite Arizona shoppers to help fight hunger in their local community. There are three ways to participate – purchasing a participating item in-store or online, donating in-store or donating on Feeding America’s website.

With 749 million meals achieved over the last five years, Arizona customers and members can help the Feeding America network secure its 1 billion cumulative meals goal in three ways. They can track the number of meals by visiting www.walmart.com/fighthunger.

  • For every participating product purchased at U.S. Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs or on Walmart.com during the campaign, the supplier will donate the monetary equivalent of at least one meal ($0.10) on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank, up to applicable limits.
  • Donate money to your local Feeding America food bank at participating Sam’s Club and Walmart stores in the U.S.
  • Donate at feedingamerica.org/Walmart.

Walmart kick-started the campaign with a $3 million donation to Feeding America and member food banks including St. Mary’s A purchase of one of the 267 participating items helps secure the equivalent of one meal. Each Walmart and Sam’s Club will partner with at least one Feeding America local food bank, and the 18 participating suppliers include: Bush Brothers, Campbell’s, Conagra Brands, Cliff Bar, General Mills, Gold Peak Tea, Great Value, Hidden Valley, JM Smucker, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, McCormick, Motts, PepsiCo, Post, Uncle Ben’s, Nature Nate’s Honey and Unilever.

“In addition to the millions of pounds of food that Walmart and Sam’s Clubs in Arizona have donated to us, proceeds from the FHSC campaign helps fund some of our most successful client programs,” St. Mary’s Food Bank President and CEO Tom Kertis said. “We thank Walmart for their great support and invite everyone to take part in this easy and effective way to make a difference.”

“As we go into our sixth year of the ‘Fight Hunger. Spark Change.’ campaign, it’s exciting to approach the 1 billion mark in terms of charitable meals secured for Feeding America over the life of the program,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “Food insecurity continues to affect communities across the United States. Working with Feeding America, our customers, members, associates and suppliers, Walmart and Sam’s Club aim to be part of the solution.”

To learn more about the campaign visit www.walmart.com/fighthunger.

From Outreach To Success

At St. Mary’s, we take pride in our numerous programs that help individuals both in the valley and across the state.

The Emergency Food Box program, Kids Café and Community Kitchen are just a few that boost and enhance lives every day. Regardless of the program, it does our hearts good to see efforts start as an outreach strategy and end with success. This is one of those times.

A staple in the downtown Phoenix community, and a fantastic partner with our Community Kitchen program, Phoenix Public Library’s Burton Barr Central Library provides more than a beautiful safe haven and quality literature. They also are a hub of teaching and training at no cost. They have a litany of classes and resources available.

Credit Phoenix New TImes

They have a litany of classes and resources available: the PhxWorks program serves the workforce community with job fairs and a youth employment series, the hive@central offers free a startup business series to entrepreneurs launch a new business, and the College Depot programs provides trainings to help individuals get into college.

Not to mention they also have a free computer training program and happen to be a meal distribution site for our Kids Cafe program!

As a Community Kitchen partner, Burton Barr allows a St. Mary’s Recruitment Specialist into the building once a month to help us advocate and educate the community for a healthier Arizona. This is where the journey to seeing our outreach success begins.

Shawntele has been living in the Phoenix area for about 13 years. She had been working as educator and a music together instructor when some unexpected life changes came her way. With those changes she had to go to part-time and she had to accept a major pay decrease. Over time, her hours were cut back even further and bills started to become an issue for her. This is when she met Adam Ketcham, our Community Kitchen Recruitment Specialist at the one and only Burton Barr Central Library.

She soon enrolled in Community Kitchen, and excelled! She says that she learned “Success is possible at any age, no matter what your circumstances are or have been. The experience at Community Kitchen encouraged and supported a healthier self-esteem, self- confidence, order, exactness, concentration and self- discipline. These are a few of many seeds planted, (and were) necessary for weeding out the shenanigans of life.”

St. Mary's CEO Tom Kertis and Shawntele

In her final weeks at Community Kitchen, she was put in contact with a program manager at S.T.A.R. (Stand Together and Recover Centers) that visited soon to be graduates in her class. After the interview process she was hired on to work as a Chef/Cook Training/Apprenticeship in their Culinary Arts Program. She assists with prepping, packing, loading, delivering and serving meals, assisting with some catering events and more.

Without Community Kitchen and without their partnership with Burton Barr Central Library, Shawntele believes that she would have “no opportunity to experience and once again be a successful student and citizen of the world.”

These are the stories that keep St. Mary’s moving. That let us know we are taking the right steps. That we are fulfilling part of our mission. To alleviate hunger through the gathering and distribution of food while encouraging self-sufficiency, collaboration, advocacy and education.

Arizona Diamondbacks Hold Hunger Awareness Night Friday, June 22 At Chase Field

PHOENIX – Summertime is here. Kids need breakfast to start the day. And you can help.

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Milk Producers are teaming up to help St. Mary’s Food Bank with a special for Hunger Awareness Night on Friday, June 29 at Chase Field, before the Diamondbacks meet the San Francisco Giants at 6:40 p.m.

Here’s the deal: Just bring three boxes of cereal or donate $10 – which St. Mary’s will use to distribute enough food for 70 meals this summer – and you will gain entry into a raffle with a chance to win one of three special Diamondback prize packages.

Each winner will receive four tickets to a future Diamondbacks game AND four passes to watch batting practice ON THE FIELD before the game! In addition each winner will receive, either a PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT autographed bat, an ARCHIE BRADLEY autographed baseball or an AJ POLLOCK autographed photo.

Just look for the St. Mary’s Food Bank truck and the special raffle booth on the main plaza beginning at 4:30 p.m. to make your donation and enter the raffle.

Help feed kids this summer and earn a chance to take home free tickets and a great piece of memorabilia from your favorite Diamondbacks stars!

To see full flyer click HERE!

Frank Might Not Have Survived Without You

“My name is Frank. I remember thinking the eight years I spent in the Marine Corps were tough. They didn’t hold a candle to what came next. After my service, I made bad decisions and found myself in a tough scene. Then I met a kind woman and things went well for a while. She left when I chose bad habits over her love. That felt like rock bottom, so I reached out for help with my addictions. I’m clean and sober today. Still, without St. Mary’s Food Bank, I might not have survived. There’s no way I could afford to buy the healthy, delicious stuff they provide.”

“For example, at Thanksgiving I received a turkey with all the trimmings. I shared it with friends — making enough for an army, literally! I use everything the Food Bank gives me, every time. My military career gave me a sense of purpose. Now I’m finding that again by sharing the good, nutritious food I’ve been so blessed to receive. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping people like me when we need it most.”

When heroes like Frank fall on hard times, you’re there to help them get back on their feet. Thank you for giving generously to ensure that hungry Arizonans receive the food they need to survive.

How You Became Cindy’s Lifeline

Cindy is more than a statistic. She’s a loving daughter who does everything in her power to care for an elderly mother. Still, Cindy is among the one in seven Arizona seniors who struggle to find food for their next meal. A lifelong Arizona resident, Cindy remembers the “good old days,” when she made a comfortable living as an artist. “I worked with sterling silver and stones,” she said, showing off a necklace that shone as bright as the day she’d crafted it.

A few years back, calamity struck Cindy’s family. She was unloading her car for an art show when she felt her back give out. “I could barely stand,” Cindy said. “Even worse, my father fell ill soon after. I quit my art to care for my parents,’’ she added. Cindy’s father passed away, and now she cares for her disabled mother.

Thankfully, your generosity means Cindy has a source for wholesome food, including fresh fruits and vegetables. “I once received the best watermelon I have ever eaten,” Cindy said. She shares the food with her mother, who is an excellent cook, and freezes any extra produce to save for later.

Thank you for providing life-sustaining food for families like Cindy’s. Your support means the world to hungry Arizonans!

How You Can Help this Hunger Action Month

Hunger hurts people in every corner of the United States, including Arizona. All told, 48 million Americans are experiencing hunger. Worst of all, 15 million of them are children suffering due to circumstances beyond their control.

Thankfully, this catastrophic problem has a solution. Through your support of St. Mary’s Food Bank, you’re helping lead the fight to end hunger. This month, you can unite with caring people all across the country to feed hungry Americans. Here are three simple, direct ways to make a difference during September, Hunger Action Month.

3 Ways To Take Action

1) Give Food/Funds

Host a food or fund drive through your school, company, or church. Your canned goods or boxed items will feed a person in need. Every $1 you donate will provide 7 meals.

2) Donate Time

Volunteers form the backbone of the Food Bank. Please visit Volunteer.FirstFoodBank.org to learn about volunteer opportunities for individuals or groups.

3) Pay Tribute

Interested in acknowledging someone special in your life via a thoughtful gift to the food bank? Contact development@firstfoodbank.org or call (602) 343-2534 to learn more.

For more ways to participate in Hunger Action Month, visit http://www.stmarysfoodbank.org/get-involved/

50th Anniversary Celebration & Hunger Action Month Presented by Arby’s

“Go Orange,” and take action in September with our 30 Ways in 30 Days to help those in need. Support the fight against hunger!

Phoenix – The World’s First Food Bank celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017-18 and St. Mary’s Food Bank will kick off its golden anniversary festivities by joining other food banks across America by raising awareness and encouraging the public to make a special effort to help those in need during Hunger Action Month.

One in five Arizonans struggle with hunger each day of the year. One in four Arizona children in our state aren’t able to enjoy three meals a day. But these numbers can change if you take action, support St. Mary’s and earn some great benefits for yourself in the process.

How can you help? St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance’s “30 Ways in 30 Days” Hunger Action Month calendar, presented by Arby’s, provides an action or activity for every day in September so all Arizonans can step forward and help those struggling with food insecurity.

It can be as simple as making a cup of coffee or a brown-bag lunch at home and donating what you would have spent that day to help the hungry – every dollar donated will allow St. Mary’s to distribute enough food for SEVEN meals. Or you can take advantage of many ways to donate time, food or funds alongside some of the many local businesses who will step up during Hunger Action Month.

Governor Doug Ducey has proclaimed September as “Hunger Action Month” in Arizona.

Just some of the great events planned for the month include:

  • Donate $1 or more to St. Mary’s Food Bank at any Valley Arby’s location on Tuesday, Sept. 5 and you will receive a FREE Arby’s Classic Roast Beef sandwich on the spot!
  • Anyone who brings a donation of five (5) canned food items will receive FREE admission to Makutu’s Island (6919 West Ray Road in Chandler) all day on Friday Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Want an even better deal? Donate 10 cans and Makutu’s Island will present you with a complimentary FUNtastic Pass good for free admission for the rest of September!
  • To celebrate national “Go Orange Day” on Thursday Sept. 14, Arizona politicians and news personalities will mark the day by wearing orange ties, and other clothing items to raise awareness to the issue of hunger.
  • Oregano’s will hold its third annual “Carbs for a Cause” event from Sept. 18-22. Just order a pasta meal any day during the event and Oregano’s will donate THREE pasta meals to St. Mary’s on your behalf!
  • Volunteers from Arizona Ford Dealers will volunteer at St. Mary’s Knight Transportation Client Services Center on Wednesday Sept. 13 to assist clients with food boxes and donate 50,000 meals to the Food Bank.
  • You can enjoy a day of fun at Castles N’ Coasters on Saturday Sept. 23. A donation of 10 canned food items (excluding water and ramen noodles) will allow each person entrance into the park access to all the rides for just $10! That’s the lowest price all year, so get ready to take advantage. What a great way to help out!

There are many other ways to help and many other companies and groups who will hold events or volunteer their time during Hunger Action Month. Log on to stmarysfoodbank.org for a full calendar or click the calendar above of “30 Ways in 30 Days” activities. Click on each calendar square and read about that day’s event. Pick out the ones that appeal to you – or better yet, come up with an idea to help yourself and let us know what you’re up to on Facebook, Twitter  or Instagram so we can help spotlight your efforts!