No savings. No budget. Just the food bank.
Some Valley residents have to rely on the St. Mary’s Food Bank as their primary source of food, according to Jerry Brown, spokesman for the St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix.
Next week, more fortunate Valley residents have the chance to donate as part of the nonprofit’s ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ food drive on Saturday, May 14.
Residents can donate a food bag via their mailbox. Nationwide, more than 230,000 letter carriers — including more than 5,000 in the Valley — will pick up canned food donations on their regular mail route, a press release said.
Local letter carriers will drop off reminder post cards and special grocery bags to mailboxes in city and rural areas, the press release said. Residents who want to donate are encouraged to fill the bags, or any other grocery bag, with nonperishable food items and leave them by their mailboxes on next Saturday morning.
“All somebody needs to do is go out in their bathrobe and slippers and leave (the food bag by the mailbox) and the letter carrier will do the rest,” Brown said.
The pandemic has had a negative effect on residents who may have had financial problems, Brown said.
One example is a Surprise couple in their 60s who initially thought they could live comfortable on part-time work. Brown said he met the couple at the St. Mary’s Food Bank in Surprise.
But the man got sick with a cancer diagnosis. Shortly after, the woman’s mother moved in with the couple after she became ill. Then, the pandemic happened, Brown said.
The lion’s share of the family’s food soon came from the food bank.
“The idea of going out and working disappeared,” Brown said.
Little to no effort can help a family in need of food, he said.
Canned fruit and vegetables, soups and meals in a can, pasta, peanut butter, tuna, rice and cereal are all needed by the food bank.
Hunger issues effect one in five Arizonans — and one in four children — dealing with hunger issues in our state, according to data from St. Mary’s.
St. Mary’s distributes more than 45,000 emergency food boxes each month, as well as stocking its 900 network of agency partners.
This time of year, donations make a big impact. The nonprofit suffers the most during summer because there are typically less donations at a time when the need is greater than the rest of the year.
Food demand increases with children out of school where some students receive free breakfast and lunch.
Families face increased gas prices, rent and food prices with current inflation.
Food from the food bank is something that can tip the scales in favor of struggling families.
The food drive began in 1976 when Phoenix and Glendale letter carriers began picking up donations in their own trucks for St. Mary’s Food Bank, the press release said. The work evolved into a national effort. The food drive has collected nearly 2 billion pounds during the past three decades for Americans suffering from food insecurity.
However, the event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, Brown said he hopes Valley residents can take time to gather some food for families in need.
“Anything we can get from folks — we desperately need that going into the summer months.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here