St. Mary’s Food Bank stepped up to distribute more than 20 million pounds of emergency food to Arizona families in need since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic — millions of pounds helping tens of thousands more than during the same period last year.
At the same time, the food bank lost millions of pounds from postponed and canceled food and water drives. That includes the largest food drive of the year, the annual Lettercarriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. which normally yields more than 400,000 pounds of food donations alone.
To help replenish shelves for the long, hot summer ahead, St. Mary’s is teaming with local shopping center owner and developer Macerich to conduct a one-time “Shopping Mall Food Haul” food drive 7-11 a.m. Saturday, May 30. Volunteers from St. Mary’s will be at four Macerich Mall locations, as well as St. Mary’s Food Bank locations in Phoenix and Surprise, to safely collect food donations from the public using the same safe practices we have instituted to distribute food for the past two months.
In the Northwest Valley, drives will be conducted at Arrowhead Towne Center, 7700 W. Arrowhead Towne Center, Glendale; and St. Mary’s Food Bank, 13050 W. Elm St., Surprise.
Volunteers will have masks and glove and will remove the donations from donors’ cars. Those making contributions are asked to place the food in car trunks, SUV hatch backs and truck beds whenever possible.
The most needed items include peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables and bottled water, but any non-perishable food donations are welcome. Those who have food that can be better used by those who have been affected either medically or financially from this pandemic, this is a great and easy way to give back.
“Even under normal circumstances, summer is the most difficult time for food banks because we distribute more food than any other time of the year,” St. Mary’s President and CEO Tom Kertis said. “This year, we have been asked to put out so much more food while seeing a large drop off in our normal food donations. Many families stocked up on food at the beginning of the pandemic and might find themselves with more than they need. This is a great time to get the food to families who are really struggling right now.”
Celebrating its 53rd year as the world’s first food bank, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization that alleviates hunger by efficiently gathering and distributing food to 745 partner agencies at more than 1,000 locations in Arizona that serve the hungry. Serving nine of Arizona’s 15 counties, the organization is a member of Feeding America, the national network of food banks, and is committed to volunteerism, building community relationships and improving the quality of life for Arizonans in need. In Fiscal Year 2018-19, the food bank distributed more than 97 million pounds of food to Arizona families and children and garnered more than 225,000 volunteer service hours.
Visit StMarysFoodBank.org or call 602-242-FOOD.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Brown is St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance public relations director.