Our Goal Is To Provide More Than 11,000 Turkeys At the Annual Holiday Distribution

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

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.

12th Annual CANSTRUCTION® Event Begins with construction on Saturday, July 14, 2018

Phoenix Canstruction 2017 Recap 1

The American Institute of Architects Phoenix Metro Chapter will host the 12th Annual CANSTRUCTION® Design Build Competition, July 14-20, 2018 at the Phoenix Convention Center (100 N 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ). All proceeds from the event will benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

Seven teams of architectural, engineering and construction firms will compete to display their talents while feeding the hungry. In the last ten years, the CANSTRUCTION® event has been able to donate over 440,000 pounds of canned goods to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. The event has become the largest single-event donations for the Food Bank, with more than 51,000 cans used to construct incredibly imaginative designs last year.

All of the non-perishable items used during Phoenix CANSTRUCTION® 2018 are donated to St. Mary’s Food Bank to help fill the more than 400,000 Emergency Food Boxes St. Mary’s distributes into the community annually.

This year seven teams will have 12 hours to build their structures in a 10x10x10 foot space on the morning of Saturday, July 14 beginning at 8 a.m. These unique works of art will be on display for the public to view, beginning Sunday, July 15 continuing through Friday, July 20 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

During the first week of exhibition, the public is encouraged to vote for the People’s Choice award at the Convention Center or at Facebook.com/phoenixcanstruction.

The CANSTRUCTION® teams have the opportunity to win awards for the can structures for the following categories Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, Structural Ingenuity, Most Cans and Jurors’ Favorite by a panel of judges. Winning teams will be honored at an Awards Ceremony and dinner on Thursday, July 26.

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!

Abbott Fund Awards St. Mary’s Food Bank With $20,000 For Backpack Program

The Abbott Fund was established by Abbott, a global health care company, in 1951, as a philanthropic foundation based in Illinois with the vision to create healthier communities worldwide, investing in ideas that promote science and medical innovation, expand access to health care and strengthen communities around the globe. In partnership with others, the Abbott Fund strives to make a lasting impact on people’s lives and encourage others to take positive action.

Since 2006, the Abbott Fund has granted nearly $2M to select Feeding America members to support their Backpack programs and disaster relief efforts. In 2017, the Abbott Fund has graciously made another generous commitment to end child hunger in America through a $200,000 gift to support Backpack Programs at food banks located in communities where they have a significant presence.

Thanks to generous grant from the Abbott Fund, St. Mary’s is able to supply backpacks filled with food every week to hungry children in our community. The Backpack Program is designed to improve the health and well-being of low-income children and their families.  We provide our partner agencies with backpacks filled with nutritious perishable and non-perishable food items that they take home on weekends and other times when school is not in session.

The children who receive backpacks come from extremely poor families and are at risk of missing meals on the weekends and over school breaks. Companies like Abbott Fund are meeting the challenge of  helping to end hunger.

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.

“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 Walmart.com/fighthunger 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 Walmart.com 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 Walmart.com 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 www.walmart.com/fighthunger.

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.