Monthly Archives: October 2008

Do I Eat or Buy Medication?

brought to you by Ernie Ortiz, Food Resource Developer

This past weekend I was invited to a health fair geared at people with cancer. I attended the fair from an invitation from an old friend who works for a large cancer related non-profit. St. Mary’s Food Bank was what I thought the only non-cancer related booth.  As the day went on I realized how wrong I was. 

A number of people from different agencies were extremely interested in how the food bank worked. I heard a number of stories of patients who were in need of food. One story stuck out in my mind.

One young lady was undergoing treatment for Lymphoma (a type of cancer that originates in the lymphatic system). Treatment for her cancer required a lot of medication. I was informed by her friend that she did not have enough to pay for her co-payments and eat at the same time. She had to make a decision to either eat or buy her medication. This broke my heart. I quickly gave her my information and asked her to contact our offices for more information.

This was a perfect example of someone who needed our help. It was also a great example of how a meal can be a life or death situation. 

I was reminded how important my job at the food bank is. I was also reminded how important it is to get involved by volunteering and holding a food drive. Every day we hear of similar stories. Have you come across anyone who may need help?  Have you ever though of holding a food drive?

I coordinate food drives. If you are interested in helping people like the young lady I mentioned, call me at (602) 343-3168 or email me at Thanks!


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Filed under Food Banking, Food Drives, Personal Experience

Will it Be Enough?

Dear Friends of the Food Bank,

I’ve been asked how things are going at the Food Bank – and I can tell you, the current economic trends dramatically affecting our community – are having a serious impact on the Food Bank. This is not a year like any other we have seen before.

Although we have seen a modest increase in food donations compared to the same time last year, I can tell you it is not enough. And, while financial donations are tracking about the same as last year, I can tell you – it will not be enough.

We are being challenged in ways we could not have anticipated. Food is going out the door much faster than it is coming in. And the food is going to families that have never relied on charity before.

We’ve all seen the news; businesses are closing, banks are not lending, the price of food and gas have hit everyone’s pocketbook – and I know – many of us are running our household budgets lean and mean.

Just the other day, I was discussing these challenges with a colleague – a woman who spends her days providing for families in need. Her husband had lost his job a number of months ago. Suddenly, a family, who is not necessarily in dire need, is taking steps to cut expenses. No more dry cleaning, no more dinners out, the frivolities are over. While out of work her husband finds he has time to do many things. He can do the landscaping, the housecleaning, the shopping, and the laundry. Their family is cutting back – just so they can get by. It makes sense.

But the housekeeper just lost a client. So did the landscaper. So did the dry cleaner. So did the waitress, the chef, the manicurist, the shopkeeper. As more and more of us cut back – it affects more and more of our neighbors.

As business after business closes… more and more of our neighbors are finding themselves out of work.

Our neighbors are losing their jobs. Our neighbors are losing their homes. Many of our neighbors are losing hope.

We usually think of having a home, a job, a car and some spending money as a right – but today, we’re the lucky ones.

We must work together – as a nation, as a state – as a community – to provide for our neighbors in need. This year is different. It’s not just those who live in poverty we must help – it’s not just children and the elderly – this year, it’s our neighbor. We have to do this together. It is for the good of our neighborhoods and our communities.

I ask you to do one thing. Take a moment now to consider what our community would look like if St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance could not provide the food that hundreds of Arizona agencies rely on.

Especially if the cities, churches and shelters we serve could not deliver meals for our hungry neighbors.

If our neighbors truly were out of hope.

We will do the best we can. We will do ALL we can – and we hope it will be enough. But we can’t do it—without your help. Please go to our web site and make a donation.

Thank you,

Terry Shannon
President & CEO
St. Mary’s Food Bank

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Filed under Food Banking, Personal Experience

The 2008 Student Food Drive Update…Corona del Sol Raises the Stakes!


The 2008 Student Food Drive is ending this week and all the participating schools are all doing an exceptional job this year. This year we have introduced The John Van Hengel Memorial Cup to be awarded on October 18th to the winning school at the U.S. Airways Center during the first intermission of the Roadrunners hockey game. The cup will be engraved with the winning school’s name and the names of the students who participated from that school. The trophy will also reside with the winning school for the current school year.


The stakes between these schools are getting high and St. Mary’s Food Bank has it on good authority that one school below is offering up extra credit for donations.

  • Mountain Ridge High School -Glendale
  • Ironwood High School -Glendale
  • Cactus High School -Glendale
  • Apollo High School-Glendale
  • Sandra Day O’Conner High School-Glendale
  • Centennial High School-Peoria
  • Corona Del Sol High School-Tempe
  • Marcos De Niza High School-Tempe
  • Sunnyslope High School-Phoenix


Who? Well, if you are lucky enough to be in Mr. Price’s English Class at Corona del Sol High School, you can receive up to 5 points of extra credit (participation) for donations.  Students can now earn one point per item donated, up to a maximum of 5 points with the deadline being Friday. 


Remember: Items most in need are peanut butter, rice and pasta, canned soups, tuna, fruit juice, and canned vegetables and fruits.


To find out the 2008 Student Food Drive winner, come out to the Roadrunner Hockey Game this Saturday.  For information on tickets, visit



–p.s. In addition to the cup, U.S. Airways has donated $1,500 in travel cards for the top three schools and a special award of $1,500 travel card to one student to be selected through an essay contest. Chipotle and Subway have also donated terrific food prizes for the second and third place schools. 

Who will win? STAY TUNED!!!!

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Filed under Events, Food Drives, Media

What Can One Person Do to Fight Poverty? iGive!

What is Blog Action Day?
Today thousands of bloggers will unite to discuss a single issue – poverty. We aim to raise awareness, initiate action and to shake the web! To learn more about this international phenomenon, click here.


So What Can One Person Do?
Let’s start with something simple. Invest in “Ethical” funds that balance social responsibility with financial return – showing businesses that social responsibility is profitable.


Support Social Reponsibility & Your Charity of Choice 
Many businesses are in a position to make positive changes, and your support of those businesses encourage them to continue to make positive changes for the environment and your community. Just one example of this type of consumer advocacy you can participate is


How Can You Support St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance Using iGive?

iGive is the first online charity shopping mall. enables individuals to shop online at over 600 reputable stores and simultaneously support any cause they wish, such as St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.  Up to 26 percent or more of every purchase is donated to the selected cause at no extra cost to shoppers or causes. 

        “We have found to be an excellent and nearly effortless way to raise needed funds. Many of our supporters are already shopping online. Now with their shopping through the Mall at, everything they buy – from CDs, books, toothpaste to computers – helps St. Mary’s Food Bank,” says Terry Shannon, President and CEO of SMFBA.  “We’re excited about how technology allows to enable our supporters to raise funds to help fight poverty in Arizona–often buying items for the holidays or gifts they never thought could make a difference for their charity of choice.”  

          Retailers include 1-800-Flowers,, Avon, Babies “R” Us,  Barnes and Noble, Borders, Blockbuster Online, Chicos, Coldwater Creek, Delta Airlines, eBay, Eddie Bauer,,,, iPod Store, JCPenney, KB Toys, Kohls, Macy’s,, Office Depot, PETCO, PETsMART,, Sephora,, Spiegel, Sur La Table, The North Face, Toys R Us, Urban Outfitters, Vitamin World, Williams-Sonoma…and more.


       What Can One Person Do Today?

         Make a Click that Counts.

         To join and participate, donating a portion of your shopping to St. Mary’s Food Bank, sign up now with iGive with this specific link:

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Filed under Events, Food Banking

In My Name…Will You Sign Up?

brought to you by Kara Ritter, St. Mary’s Communication Specialist

Are you willing? Get creative!

Let’s do it!

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Filed under Uncategorized

I’m Concerned…

brought to you by Cynde C., Director of Community Relations, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

In a recent direct mail piece, President and CEO Terry Shannon sent out a note to all of our donors telling them about his concern. In the note, Terry talks about the new face of our clients – middle class families who never would have thought they would find themselves needing food from a human services organization. He also talked about the incredible increase in giving to political campaigns and the affect it is having on organizations like the Food Bank. We are certainly not alone in our need for financial donations; nonprofits across the country are finding the current economic climate very tough.

While monetary and food donations decreased during the summer, demand hit a high that we haven’t seen at the Food Bank usually during the summer. Yes, while the summer is very busy for us (our busiest time of the year), this year was exceptionally high.

At the beginning of the summer, we were thinking that perhaps the economy wouldn’t change the summer distribution too much because the average number of Emergency Food Boxes distributed in May, June and July were 14,300 boxes. Then, August hit and we distributed 17,000 EFB boxes; September, 19,000 EFB Boxes. September was a 40 percent increase. Some of our partner agencies are seeing a 100 percent increase in demand for their services.

The face of the people who need food from the Food Bank is changing. And, with the current economic trends, I don’t think this trend will fade any time soon. Now we look forward to the holidays and the task to provide 10 Million Meals for a Hunger-Free Holiday.

Terry has a reason to be concerned…and so should every person who wants to see their neighbors, friends, and family thrive and rise above the current crisis.

How do you think we can tackle this challenge?

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Filed under Food Banking, Food Drives

Bailing Out? What about Feeding and Lifting Up too?

brought to you by Chet Provorse/Food Bank Education Manager


Recently and suddenly our Administration in Washington and Congress have issued dire, extremely dire, announcements that an unfathomable pile of money must be provided to BAIL OUT the financial sector of America. OR ELSE! Arizonans have been presented with assuming the debt and damage in the hundreds of billions of dollars to our financial survival save us form the inept financial risk management, lack of due diligence and seemingly repeated lapses in ethical business practices. The financial stop gaps just passed by the Senate and pending House of Representatives approval may be what’s needed; as painful as they may be as the lesser of many economic evils.

Yet, as our nation move forward out of this morass of “mistakes”, I think those of us involved with fighting food insecurity in America need to raise our hands high and voices loudly to demand the same concern afforded the financially affluent be afforded to the unfed, low-paid, homeless and aging who do not have the luxury of worrying about insurance for their $250,000 bank accounts also have their burdens of poor health care, low pay and inconsistent access to food lifted from their shoulder. 

As we’re Bailing Out, why not lift up too?

With that said, Let’s hear from the Blogosphere. What ways (the more specific the better) we can fight against hunger in our nation and in our local communities during this time of financial instability?

Talk to us. We want to hear from you…



Filed under Food Banking, General, Local Business, Media