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Meet the people you help with your donation


“There is no stress when you have food”

Through St. Mary’s Food Bank, Geronimo enrolled into the Commodity Senior Food Program (CSFP), which provides seniors with a low income with nutritious food. He is so appreciative to receive all the healthy items given to him: milk, oats, rice, beans, canned protein, canned fruits and vegetables, and cheese.

At almost 80 years old, Geronimo is going through one of the hardest chapters of his life. He lost his wife ten years ago, just five years after he retired. He never expected life to become even more difficult. He received tragic news over and over. And many of his close friends and family succumbed to COVID.

Losing so many, Geronimo was devastated. He ended up getting the virus himself and thought he wasn’t going to make it. Even though he was overburdened with sadness and shock, he managed to recover.

Geronimo suffers from diabetes and is watchful of the foods he puts into his body. He’s never smoked, drank, or used drugs.

"Food is my medicine."

"A body is like a car,” he said, “When it gets old, it gets worn out; but if you take good care of it, it will last longer.” For seniors like Geronimo who need a special diet, getting the right foods on a fixed income can be very challenging.

Because of you and your wonderful support, Geronimo gets the fuel he needs to make it through another day.


Food Shouldn't Be a Hardship.

Sparked by her passion for education and her love of learning, Margaret became a teacher. Life was on track, but was derailed by a serious car accident that changed everything overnight. Unable to continue working full-time, she spent the rest of her career as a substitute teacher. Finally, in 2013, she made the tough decision to retire, even though she was barely making ends meet.

Margaret lives alone in a low-income senior center that receives food from St. Mary’s Food Bank. She qualifies for both the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and our Homebound Delivery Program.

CSFP is a government program designed to help at-risk seniors receive nutritious food that they may not be able to afford on their own. The food box comes with nonperishable items such as canned fruits and vegetables, beans, rice, protein and pasta. It also includes a block of cheese. St. Mary’s Homebound Delivery program began as a way to provide food to senior citizens who were unable to leave their homes. Prior to COVID, nearly 1,200 seniors received food through this delivery program.

With the support of friends like you, the program has grown to more than 3,400 deliveries per month and is now offered to anyone unable to leave their home. When Margaret was more mobile, she would visit one of our distribution centers in Phoenix. “It was very big, and the people are very friendly.

"I was surprised by how much food I received.”

“Oh and the cheese, I love the cheese. Sometimes I make a grilled cheese sandwich and sometimes I eat it straight, it is so very good.”

Margaret recently went to the doctor but suffered from heat stroke on her way home and was hospitalized. She is fearful of going out in the heat which makes our Homebound Delivery program even more vital to her. She looks forward to her delivery every month.

“My driver comes the first Thursday of every month,” she said excitedly. “I look forward to seeing him and receiving the food, that I mark it on my calendar every month!”

“Life is so much better with St. Mary’s Food Bank."

Sometimes it’s hard to admit you need help, but you need to forget your pride and take care of yourself. There is help available from St. Mary’s. Food for us seniors shouldn’t be a hardship, even if we are (and she whispers, and spells) P-O-O-R.”

She adds with sincere gratitude, “I also want to thank everyone that works at St. Mary’s Food Bank, especially the Homebound delivery drivers. They are so kind and respectful. THANK YOU!”


You Don’t Know Where You Will Be Tomorrow

Hunger is a steep hill no one should have to climb. Regina knows all too well what it’s like to come from a household where money was always tight. She told us she “grew up very poor” and watched her dad work long hours to put food on the table.

Regina adopted the same hard-working philosophy until she wasn’t able to work any longer. Now a senior, she lives on a fixed income that is barely making ends meet. With the rising cost of food, Regina is making every effort she can to get by. During the summer, it’s even more difficult. “I would not be able to afford air conditioning,” she said. “If you live on a fixed income or tight budget, it is really expensive and hard in this heat.”

Regina qualifies for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) through St. Mary’s Food Bank. This is a government program that provides seniors on a low income with nutritious, wholesome food. She is so grateful for the help she receives and shares what she doesn’t use with her elderly neighbors.

Regina’s life was greatly impacted by the help of St. Mary’s and she wanted to give back to others in the community who are also struggling.

She soon became a proud volunteer of the food bank. “I love volunteering,” she said. “You don’t know where you will be tomorrow, so it is always good to give today!”


"I lost all of my retirement savings.”

Having immediate access to running water and electricity is not a given for everyone — it is a “luxury”, as Lucy’s father would say. Lucy is a member of the Hopi tribe, born and raised on the reservation where she grew up in an environment with limited resources. When she was a teenager, she moved to the Valley.

Lucy is now 80 years old and retired from a company after more than 25 years. She lived responsibly and saved enough money to be financially secure in her retirement. Sadly, she received poor financial advice and lost all her savings when the stock market crashed — Lucy was beyond devastated.

“I cried for almost a whole month straight, not knowing how I was going to get by.”

Her social security income barely covers rent, leaving her with no money for food. “I knew I had to figure out how to get help,” she said.

St. Mary’s delivers nutritious food to Native Health — just one of our more than 900 partner agencies. Lucy now makes regular visits to Native Health and loves the healthy food she gets like bread, cheese, protein, rice, pasta, produce, and plenty more. “I don’t know what I would do without St. Mary’s Food Bank."

Thank you for giving hope to seniors like Lucy, who would have had nowhere to turn if it wasn’t for your support.

Briana, a single mom of two young boys

"There was no one else to help.”

A single mom of two young boys, Brianna had no choice when COVID-19 closed the schools and daycare centers.

“There was no one I could turn to,” she said. “We just had to hang on together.”

She had to quit her job because there was no work-from-home option. She didn’t want the kids to fall behind in school and she needed help keeping them fed.
“You try to monitor portions, but two little boys are eating all the time,” she said. “The money I had was going to other things. There isn’t enough left for food.”

Brianna said two visits a month to St. Mary’s makes up what she couldn’t afford to buy. The rest comes from clipping coupons and stretching what little money is left.

“I try to take only what I need because I know others are in the same spot,” she said. “The boys love when mom cooks for them. The bananas are a big favorite when we get them, it’s the first thing to go.”

Meet George & Jayne, St. Mary's Food Bank donors

George & Jayne

"I’ve gotten more than I’ve given.”

George and Jayne have been financial donors to St Mary’s Food Bank for many years. They were impressed how far the Food Bank stretched their donations to help as many people as possible. When St. Mary’s lost 80% of its volunteers in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the food bank put out a plea for volunteer help. Both recently retired, George and Jayne decided they could donate some time as well.

That was more than a year ago, and they haven’t stopped volunteering. The couple comes to the food bank three days a week and has fallen in love with St. Mary’s mission and method of feeding Arizona’s hungry. They fill grocery carts inside our Knight Client Services Center and help load the food into cars that roll up each day. Now volunteer veterans, they show the new helpers what to do as if they were on our staff – which they almost are!

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Jayne, who worked as a nurse and loves the nutritious food St. Mary’s offers each day. “The staff and other volunteers have become our friends."

"To have been able to help during this very difficult time for so many is so fulfilling. I felt like I’ve gotten a lot more than I’ve given at St. Mary’s Food Bank.” George is former warehouse general manager and marvels at St Mary’s efficiency. “This place is a well-oiled machine,” he said. “To watch them transition from a walk-in to a drive-thru food bank overnight to keep everyone as safe as possible was amazing.”

On Good Friday, Jayne was filling some of the carts with donated Easter candy, hoping to herself that those carts would go to a family with children. When she saw the cart being loaded into a car with three small boys in the back seat, it brought tears to her eyes.

“To see them so happy about something we take from granted … that’s why we’re here.”

George and Jayne said they will continue to come to St. Mary’s as long as they are physically able. “Donate your money, but donate your time as well,” George said. “Don’t just talk about what is wrong. Do something!”