The Issue: Prevalence of Hunger Among Arizona Families
More than 29 percent of children face hunger on a daily basis in Arizona, which has the third highest children's food-insecurity rate in the country. Many of these children live in households headed by adults who work full time yet still cannot afford to adequately feed their families on a daily basis, a pain that becomes particularly acute during the holiday season. In fact, more than 40% of the households in the state that receive emergency food assistance have at least one working family member. Food-assistance programs can help bridge the gap between what families can afford to buy and what they need to be food-secure.
The Campaign: Distributing Food to Families Facing Hunger
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance to feed hungry children and families. For every $5 raised, St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance can provide families facing hunger in Arizona with 35 meals, ensuring they can serve a wholesome holiday feast. The food is given to partner agencies and after-school programs, which distribute it to families in need.
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance
While volunteering to serve dinner at his local soup kitchen in 1967, John Van Hengel met the woman who would spark the idea for the nation's first food bank. According to the Washington Post, she fed her 10 children using soup kitchens and the cast-offs she found in grocery-store dumpsters, but suggested that a place where people could deposit and withdraw food—like a bank—would be ideal. With help from St. Mary's Basilica, Van Hengel created St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, which began accepting donations from individuals and companies with food surpluses and distributing those through food pantries, soup kitchens, and other charities. The concept spread across the country, and then the world.
Today St. Mary’s annually distributes nearly 70 million pounds of food to its partner agencies across an 81,000-square-mile service area. These meals go to people of all ages, ranging from homebound seniors to children in more than 80 after-school programs. In addition to its food network, St. Mary’s prepares food boxes to directly feed hungry families during temporary crises and trains people for jobs in the culinary arts in its Community Kitchen program.