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 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 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.

“Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” Campaign to Combat Hunger in Arizona

Throughout April, online acts of support, purchases of participating products and donations at Walmart registers can help Feeding America secure at least 200 million meals on behalf of local member food banks

She or he may be a distant relative or your next door neighbor, but chances are you know one of the estimated one in five families and one in four children in Arizona who struggle with food insecurity at some point during the year. From April 2 through April 30, Arizona residents can make a real difference in the lives of local families.

Walmart, Feeding America and St. Mary’s Food Bank today kicked off the fifth annual nationwide “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign online and in stores. Walmart and Feeding America are doubling their meal goal to help secure at least 200 million meals, increasing supplier participation to 14, and introducing the Walmart Credit Card as a new way for customers to get involved in the campaign. In another first, Walmart is uniting with social networking site, Nextdoor, to drive conversations in local communities across the nation on ways they can combat hunger.

“By working with Walmart, its 14 supplier partners and Synchrony Bank, we have an amazing opportunity to make progress towards fighting hunger in our community,” said Tom Kertis, President and CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank. “This campaign will help increase awareness about the issue of hunger in America, allowing us to secure more local funds and ultimately provide more food to people in need in Arizona. We hope people across the state will take action and participate in the campaign.”

Beginning today through April 30, Walmart is offering four ways that customers can get involved and fight hunger online, in-store and through social sharing to help secure meals for local food banks, St. Mary’s Food Bank. Visit for further details. Here are the ways customers can participate in the fight against hunger.

  • Purchase Product: For every participating product purchased at U.S. and Puerto Rico Walmart stores or on from April 2 – April 30, 2018, the supplier will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal ($0.10) on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank, up to applicable limits. Participating suppliers include General Mills, The Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay/Quaker, Bush Brothers, Clorox Sales Company, Conagra, Motts, Unilever, Maruchan, Pinnacle Foods, Post, and JM Smucker.
    • Donate money to your local Feeding America food bank at participating Walmart stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Donations can be made at the register to St. Mary’s Food Bank in increments of $1, $2, $5 or an amount chosen by the customer. Donating is also an option at the self-checkout (Scan and Go) register. When customers click “Finish & Pay” on totals over $10, it will trigger the prompt with details on donating.
  • Make an online act of support: For every traceable post of campaign content with #FightHunger on Instagram and for every traceable share or retweet on Facebook and Twitter of campaign content, Walmart will donate $10.00 to Feeding America and for every click on the support button on the program website, Walmart will donate $1.00 to Feeding America, up to $1.5 million.
  • Use the Walmart Credit Card: Synchrony Bank will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal ($0.10) for each Walmart Credit Card transaction made at Walmart stores and on during the campaign, up to $750,000.

The ‘’Fight Hunger. Spark Change.’’ campaign launches at a critical time. In Arizona, food insecurity affects one in five families and one in four children. Nationally, one in eight Americans (41 million), including one in six children (nearly 13 million) struggle with hunger at some point during the year, according to the USDA.

Food insecurity also affects certain populations more profoundly including children, seniors, minority and Latino communities. For Latino communities, one in five Latinos are food insecure compared to 1 in 10 white, non-Hispanics and 1 in 8 Americans overall. For Latino children, nearly a quarter (24 percent) are food insecure compared to 13 percent for white, non-Hispanic children, according to Feeding America’s Latino Hunger 2017 report.

“In communities big and small across the country, there are families struggling with hunger,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “By working together during this campaign with our suppliers, customers and friends at Feeding America, we can help secure 200 million meals that will help those who need it most.”

Last year, St. Mary’s Food Bank receive more than $175,000 from Walmart’s campaign to fight hunger.

To learn more about the campaign, visit

A Letter from Our President & Chief Executive Officer . . . Tom Kertis

A Time To Bring Hope

Spring is a time of renewal, a time of fresh starts and a time of hope. For many local children and families in our community, they need that hope more than ever.

In Arizona, nearly 30% of our neighbors are considered working poor, working tirelessly at a job—or multiple jobs—to support their families. They can barely afford their rent and utilities, let alone nutritious food.

No one should have to skip meals to pay the rent. Your continued support ensures our neighbors have somewhere to turn when they can’t put food on their tables. That’s why I hope you’ll give today to our 2018 Annual Fund Drive to Fight Hunger in Arizona. Any amount you can give means more hungry children and families in our community will have the nutritious food they need.

With your compassion and partnership, we can put food on the tables of our neighbors who need it most. Thank you for being a vital part of fighting hunger in Arizona

You’ve Helped My Family Through A Difficult Time

So many people who come to St. Mary’s are just like Nicole: one bad moment changed everything.

Nicole’s husband fell off a roof while working as a contractor. He’s been out of work to heal from his injuries and now the family struggles to make ends meet. That’s a stressful place to be when you have an 18-month-old to feed.

They recently learned about St. Mary’s Food Bank and  began receiving food boxes and fresh produce. Nicole says she is grateful for friends and supporters like you, who make it possible to feed her family nutritious meals.

“I am very thankful for the generous donors who make St. Mary’s Food Bank possible for families like mine going through hard times,” she said.

Nicole said she feels her hope is restored now that she doesn’t have to worry about where her family’s next meal will come from.

You can provide hope to hungry children and families across 13 counties in Arizona by giving today. Just $1 provides 7 meals to neighbors in need.

Thunderbirds Charities Donates $300,000 To Bolster Kids Cafe Program

Phoenix, AZ – Thunderbirds Charities, a major player in the growth and expansion of St. Mary’s Kids Cafe Program, has donated $300,000 to allow the food bank to purchase two new refrigerated trucks and to purchase food to help reach more of Arizona’s hungry children than ever before through a new program.

Kids Cafe serves more than 8,000 after-school meals at more than 140 locations to kids at risk of hunger who may not be receiving balanced, nutritional meals at home.

Many meals are served at after school programs that provide a safe environment for kids not only to eat but work on homework and participate in sports and other activities. But the Thunderbird are helping St. Mary’s reach even more kids in 2018 by supporting the new “Grab and Go” program where students receive a meal at the end of the school day before they walk home or get on the bus.

Thunderbirds Charities have provided more than $100 million to Valley non-profits over the years and have played an instrumental role in St. Mary’s reaching as many children as possible through Kid Cafe. The two new trucks will join St. Mary’s existing fleet of Kid Cafe trucks also made possible through donations by the Thunderbirds.

Kids Cafe is one of our most vital and important programs at St. Mary’s, and it would never be as successful or impactful without the continued support of Thunderbirds Charities,” Food Bank President and CEO Tom Kertis said. “The Thunderbirds have embraced the cause of childhood hunger and our mission to always serve one more child. The incredible expansion of Kids Cafe and our ability to open more and more site are a direct result of their vision and determination to help.”

Help St. Mary’s Food Bank “Go Further with Food”

March is National Nutrition Month, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has proclaimed this year’s theme: “Go Further with Food.” In that spirit, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance invites you to support healthy eating habits for Arizona’s families and children in need. You’re also encouraged to help cut down on food waste.

Here’s the great news!

It couldn’t be easier to participate in National Nutrition Month. Simply continue supporting St. Mary’s Food Bank’s crucial hunger-fighting programs. Your ongoing support helps us:

Distribute food to nearly 500 nonprofit partners in 13 Arizona counties. Our efficient distribution methods minimize food waste and maximize the number of hungry people served.

Feed children through our Kids Café, School Pantry, and Backpack programs. We place an emphasis on healthy foods, including produce, to ensure kids receive proper nourishment.

Teach adults to cook through our hands-on Community Kitchen training program. Thanks to you, people with barriers to employment can learn to be successful in the food service industry. On behalf of all of us at St. Mary’s Food Bank, we wish you a wholesome and delicious National Nutrition Month.

Thank you for your faithful support!

Anita Matthews: Volunteer of the Month

We would like to recognize Anita Matthews with Parker Food Bank as our November Outstanding Volunteer of the Month!

Anita has been volunteering at Parker Food Bank for over 5 years and was nominated by food bank staff member Maria Sanchez to highlight her great work. In her role as greeter and client intake volunteer, Maria describes Anita as a dedicated volunteer that can be characterized by 3 H’s- humble, happy, and honest. Anita began volunteering at the food bank to be able to reciprocate the help she received when she fell on hard times and sought assistance from others. She understands the importance of being reliable and honoring your word in day to day operations and uses this as her motivation to volunteer weekly.

When she’s not spending her time at the Parker Food Bank, Anita can be found volunteering at the locale senior center. Anita’s favorite thing about volunteering is being able to spread her positivity to help turn a client’s mood around all while providing a necessity they may not have otherwise received. We would like to thank Anita and the Parker Food Bank for all they do to help the community!

Thank you Anita!