Category Archives: Events

Grand Opening of New Kids Cafe® Facility Expands Production of Meals For Hungry Children

It was a long-awaited, much-anticipated celebration of progress on Apr. 7 when the Kids Cafe program opened the doors to its new meal preparation facility at the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance Surprise facility.

The Kids Cafe program provides an important after school meal for at-risk kids who receive breakfast and lunch at school but in many cases don’t have a dinner meal waiting for them at home. One in four children in Arizona today are living in poverty, amounting to more than 260,000 children in Maricopa Country alone. Kids Cafe seeks to feed as many school-age children as possible.

“This expansion has been years in the making, and we’re very excited that the day is finally here,” said Laura Brill, Kids Cafe program manager. “The statistics of childhood hunger in Arizona are disturbing and unacceptable. This is the future of Arizona, and we feel like we need to invest now.”

What was a 200-square-foot area for volunteers to make sandwiches has expanded to an 8,500-square-foot facility that will allow the program to immediately expand from the current level of 1,700 meals per day to 3,000 by this summer and 4,000 by the end of 2011. The ultimate goal is to reach 8,000 to 10,000 meals by 2013, with the introduction of hot meals for the first time.

Currently, about 40 volunteers prepare the sandwiches, fruits and vegetables for the daily Kids Cafe meals. But more volunteers are now needed to keep up with expansion and to perform site-checks for future program sites. Anyone interested in volunteering should call Grace Rodil at (602) 343-5629 or Melissa Jensen at (602) 647-1820.

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Filed under Events, Food Banking, Volunteer, Westside

KSLX-FM’S Mark Mayfield & Sleep America to Host 5th Annual ‘Get In Bed With Mark’ Food Drive to Benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank

Three-day Radio-thon Runs From April 6-8 All Over The Valley With Goal Of Spreading the Word About Dire Hunger Issues Now Affecting Arizona

Phoenix – Fast-becoming an early-April Arizona tradition, KSLX (100.7 FM)’s morning man Mark Mayfield is getting ready to get back into his Sleep America bed for the fifth annual “Get in Bed with Mark” food drive to benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

One of the Valley’s most popular morning personalities, Mayfield will begin his three-day live marathon at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, April 6 at Sleep America’s Glendale location at the Lane Home Furnishings Center (7291 W. Bell Road, Ste. 101A). He will literally hop into a Sleep America bed aboard a flat-bed truck and collect both non-perishable food items and cash donations for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance – all while interviewing local celebrities, holding challenges, and talking about the need in Arizona.

At the end of the drive, Mayfield will raffle off the queen size Kingsdown bed, provided by Sleeping America, which will have served as his home for the three-day radiothon. And this year, Sleep America will introduce a new and exciting event for the last day. On April 8th, the Paradise Valley location will host “The Great Bed Race for Charity.” Five-member teams can still sign up for their place in the field with a $100 donation to the Food Bank.

“Get in Bed with Mark” collected more than 18,000 pounds of non-perishable food items and more than $14,000 in cash last year – providing more than 116,000 meals for St. Mary’s Food Bank to distribute to the hungry of Arizona. KSLX, Sleep America and St. Mary’s are all hoping to duplicate the success of last year’s event.

Mayfield and his Sleep America bed will leave the Glendale location at 10pm on the 6th, and from 6am – 10pm on Thursday, April 7, he will be at Tempe Marketplace (2010 E. Rio Salado Pkwy, Ste. 115) giving the East Valley listeners a chance to participate. The drive will finish off at the Paradise Valley Mall (4320 E. Cactus Road, Ste. A1) from 6am – 6 p.m. on Friday, April 8, with the Great Bed Race capping almost 50 hours live on the air.

For more information on the “Get in Bed with Mark” food drive or The Great Bed Race, visit www.kslx.com or www.sleepamerica.com.

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Kids Cafe in Surprise calls for Volunteers with Grand Opening Approaching on April 7th

Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 1:45 pm

By NORA AVERY-PAGE, DAILY NEWS-SUN | 0 comments

Volunteers from the Sun Cities who devote time to the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Surprise don’t want Arizona children to go to bed hungry.

They see the faces of hunger while others just see statistics:

• One in four children in the state are living in poverty, amounting to more than 260,000 children in Maricopa Country alone.

• In Surprise, nearly 24 percent of households fall at or below the poverty level.

• Arizona ranks dead last in an America’s Health Ranking study with the greatest number of children in poverty.

The St. Mary’s Kids Cafe program is working toward changing those numbers by offering daily meals to impoverished children.

“Child hunger is getting worse,” said Laura Brill, the Kids Cafe manager, calling these statistics “disturbing and unacceptable.”

The program feeds about 1,700 school-age children at 32 different locations every day, but with a new building expansion, Brill hopes to expand that number to 3,000 over the summer and 4,000 by the end of the year.

The program will be moving next week to a renovated former storage space in the westside location of St. Mary’s, so volunteers and staff can pack, store and assemble the meals, which include sandwiches and fruit and vegetables, all in one place.

The volunteers appreciate the commitment to the westside location, said Jan Wells, who helps coordinate the volunteers.

“Everybody is very excited,” she said.

Wells hopes to expand the menu offered. Right now, volunteers make up ham sandwiches, beef and ranch wraps or other varieties of sandwiches.

“Our goal is to provide that nutritional meal,” she said.

Brill said children living in poverty don’t eat well because it’s usually the highly processed foods lacking in significant nutritional value that are the cheapest to buy and that leads not only to poorer general health, but fatigue, hospitalizations, behavioral difficulties and impaired performance in school.

Brill said the goal of the program, which exists on a combination of donations and government funding, is to give children consistent daily nutrition, and it’s about giving them both quantity and quality food.

“This is the future of Arizona, and we feel like we need to invest now,” Brill said.

It’s important to sustain that nutrition during the summer, and more difficult to do because the children aren’t in school, she said.

“We want to kind of keep them steady,” Brill said. “We want the kids to be ready for when school starts back up.”

The goal is to expand the Kids Cafe program to make 8,000 meals a day, but that’s a few years down the road, she said.

And for both the current and future expansion, the food bank needs new volunteers; both Brill and Wells emphasized their appreciation for the volunteers and the support of the Sun Cities and Surprise communities.

But it takes a lot of work, Brill said, stressing the need for volunteers looking for a more in-depth project who can adopt a Kids Cafe site to set up and track the program.

“We want to make sure we’re very mindful in our planning,” Brill said, explaining she doesn’t want to have to say to the children at the sites: “Sorry, we messed up, we’re not going to feed you anymore.”

If the program doesn’t get enough volunteers to visit sites, it can’t have as many locations and won’t be able to feed as many kids, Brill said.

The Kids Cafe program is also looking for potential new locations for the meal sites, which can be any place children have access to, from a church, playground or pool, or an apartment complex.

Volunteers interested in doing site visits can call Grace Rodil at 602-343-5629 or email her at mgrodil@firstfoodbank.org.

For volunteers looking to help prepare meals or do other work for St. Mary’s Westside location, call Jan Wells at 602-343-5637 or reach her by email at jkwells@firstfoodbank.org.

Different sites looking to participate can call Melissa Jensen at 602-647-1820

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Filed under donations, Events, Food Banking, Volunteer, Westside

Volunteers needed!!

Tuesday, September 28th 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Join us for the first ever 50’s Rock ‘n’ Box.We’ll be groovin’ to the oldies while we pack emergency food boxes on the assembly line at St. Mary’s Food Bank…rockin’ for a good cause!

Oldie’s Trivia Contest

Bring your family and spend some quality time. (Kids need to be 12 or older). We’ll even serve dinner!

Make your Reservation Today! Call 602-343-3165
2831 N. 31st Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85009 Just South of Thomas Road

Let the good times roll!

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HELP ST. MARY’S FOOD BANK ALLIANCE AUG. 11 AND RECEIVE A LITTLE SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE BILTMORE CHEESECAKE FACTORY

First 100 People Who Donate Five Cans or Five Dollars Will Receive Reece’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake; Earn Chance At American Idol Tickets

Last year it was the Cheesecake Factory’s Stephanie’s Red Velvet Cheesecake that enticed friends of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance to donate more than 3,000 canned food items to the fight against hunger.

This year, the Biltmore Fashion Park Cheesecake Factory at 2402 East Camelback Road is back to help St. Mary’s – and will hand out slices of its brand new Reece’s® Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake Cheesecake to the first 100 people who donate at least five cans or five dollars to the Food Bank. The giveaway begins at 8 a.m. on Aug. 11 and will continue until noon – or until the last slice has been spoken for.

There is an added bonus this year. Donors also eligible to enter a drawing on-site for one of six pair of tickets to the American Idol LIVE! Concert at US Airways Center on Thursday, Aug. 12. Winners will be notified after noon on Aug. 11 and will pick up their tickets at the Will Call booth at the USAC on the day of the show.

Last year, St. Mary’s collected the most cans of any Food Bank during a 30-city national tour of Cheesecake Factories from coast-to-coast, providing more than 5,000 meals for hungry Arizonans – not to mention those who got their slice of Stephanie’s Red Velvet. Don’t let this second chance at an incredible dessert pass you by!

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PLEASE HELP WELLS FARGO COLLECT FOOD FOR ARIZONA FOOD BANKS

The only statewide food drive in Arizona, the annual Wells Fargo summer food drive to benefit the Association of Arizona Food Banks continues until July 31 with collection bins in all 261 Wells Fargo Community Banking Stores across Arizona.

More than 100,000 pounds of food was collected through the drive last year and is one of the largest corporate drives in Arizona each year. The donations benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and the other members of the Association of Arizona Food Banks, which collectively distributed more than 110 million pounds of food to the hungry of our state last year through 1,600 sites.

Those who wish to donate cash to the drive – for St. Mary’s every dollar in donations can lead to the distribution of seven meals into the community – checks can be made payable to the Association of Arizona Food Banks and sent to 2100 N. Central Ave., Ste. 230, Phoenix, AZ 85004. Donations can also be made online at http://www.azfoodbanks.org

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TGI Friday’s searches for the “Best Bartender” on May 29 to benefit SMFBA

With contestants flipping bottles to choreographed music and pouring drinks down a cascade of stemware stacked to the sky, the TGI Friday’s at 59th Avenue and Bell Road in Glendale will hold their annual “Best Bartender” contest on Saturday May 29, collecting food and raising money for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

A packed house of bartending fans is expected for this hot ticket event with seats “reserved” by a donation to the Food Bank. TGI Friday’s Bartenders will be judged on originality, presentation and drink accuracy while vying for a spot in the regional TGI Friday’s competition – the next step toward the company’s worldwide showdown later this year.

Get in on all the fun and have a flipping good time at TGI Friday’s, where “Gratitude is the Attitude.” Call (602) 843-9000 to reserve your table and don’t forget to bring your food donations for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

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