Tag Archives: Food Bank

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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We depend on you because HUNGRY Arizonans depend on us.

Now easier to use than ever, the Arizona Working Poor tax credit was created to encourage donations to organizations like St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, which distributes enough food into the community to provide 300,000 meals every day throughout the state of Arizona. By making a donation to the Food Bank, taxpayers may qualify for a dollar-for-dollar tax credit (a reduction to their final tax bill, lowering the amount owed) of up to $200 for individuals or $400 for those married filing jointly. In addition to the state tax credit, donors may also be able to take a deduction for federal tax purposes.

St. Mary’s Food Bank, given a top four-star rating by Charity Navigator, spends 96% of its budget to help low-income Arizonans. During the last fiscal year, the Food Bank distributed 67.7 million pounds of food in 13 of the state’s 15 counties. With the economic downturn, the Food Bank has seen a steady 76% increase in demand for its services over last year.

http://www.kpho.com/video/22044210/index.html

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Michelle Obama volunteers at DC food bank

WASHINGTON (AP) — First Lady Michelle Obama is making good on her promise to actively volunteer in the Washington area, bagging food for hungry children at a local food bank on her husband’s 100th day in office.

Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, joined more than 100 congressional spouses at the Capital Area Food Bank on Wednesday, passing out packages of wheat pasta and cans of pineapple as volunteers bagged 2,000 meals for low-income kids in the area.

This is the second time the first lady has volunteered for the hungry in the District of Columbia. In March, she served lunch to the homeless at a soup kitchen.

The event was sponsored by the food bank and Feeding America, a hunger relief group.

By MARY CLARE JALONICK

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5igDOKmv4O7OVfRr43JBsZ6TQifdQD97SAKHO2

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Food bank shows planting garden is the way to grow

Generosity and innovation are sprouting at St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. With proper gardening and cooperative weather, a new garden at the food bank will brim with radishes in late May.

Kudos to Bobby Smith. The gardener and former sous chef marked Earth Day on Wednesday by planting vegetables at the distribution center at 31st Avenue and Thomas Road. Smith faced space challenges but came up with the idea to use wine barrels. If all goes well, food boxes will go beyond typical non-perishable items to include vegetables. How refreshing.

The garden could not have come at a better time, either. Demand for food at the bank has increased 80 percent. And with more people losing jobs or saving what could have been a donation to a food bank, contributions are harder to come by. The garden, however, can feed the hungry.

Then, there are the healthful benefits. Prices for fresh vegetables can make anyone blanch, even in flush times. Consider the choice many people are making between fresh vegetables, which can spoil quickly, or food items with long shelf lives.

Many people are likely to stretch their dollars by purchasing food items that can turn out several meals versus a few meals with fresh produce. The choice is better for the bottom line but not for bodies skimping on certain nutrients.

A garden can help fill that void. Smith is showing workers how to care for the crops, which will include artichokes, pumpkins, okra, squash, peppers, cucumbers and herbs. The seeds are barely planted, but the garden is already making mouths water.

Gardens are making a comeback. Michelle Obama started a garden at the White House recently. Cave Creek envisions a community garden at the site of its future wastewater plant. And a south Scottsdale woman is looking for land to build one in her community. Smith deserves gratitude for bringing one to ours.

The St. Mary’s Food Bank has a garden. It is time to roll up the sleeves and turn generosity and innovation into vegetables.

http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/PhoenixEditorials/51805

First week of growth!

First week of growth!

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Pairing Gardens With Food Banks

Demand at food banks has risen sharply due to the economic crisis. But fresh produce can be difficult to keep in stock at these facilities because of its price and limited shelf life. The Arizona Republic reports on one food bank that has started up its own 21-square-foot community vegetable garden this year, a project headed up by a local chef/gardener. We’ve previously covered other produce-to-food-bank initiatives here in Seattle, including a startup program to distribute seeds and gardening advice at food distribution centers, and efforts to collect fruit tree and garden excess for emergency food services.

But one factor that can put distance between fresh vegetables and the neediest people is lack of access to a kitchen. One thing we’d be interested to see: a shared kitchen facility where people without a home can prepare freshly harvested produce from a community garden. Though certainly not as efficient in terms of scale as a community feeding facility like the Langar in Delhi, it seems that a kitchen for preparing food would provide a bit of dignity, stability and choice in the lives of the people who used it. What do you think? (JL)

http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/009786.html

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Food bank to grow its own

by Susan Felt – Apr. 21, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Gardener and former sous chef Bobby Smith will mark Earth Day on Wednesday by planting vegetables at St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance’s 31st Avenue and Thomas Road distribution center, where food normally is gathered rather than grown.

It’s what this 40-year-old Midwest farm boy loves doing most: teaching people how to grow food in their own backyard.

In this case, his student will be Beverly Damore, director of community and marketing for the food bank that in March distributed 7 million pounds of food to the Valley’s hungry and homeless.

Smith, owner of Sustainably Yours Garden Management, is capitalizing on what Michelle Obama’s White House garden has helped make a popular pastime: backyard gardening.

When Smith approached St. Mary’s food bank with the garden idea – part of the Plant a Row Earth Day campaign to feed the hungry – he was hesitant about the location.

At the food bank’s three Valley distribution centers, extra space usually is reserved for parking, Damore said.

Smith, however, came up with an easy solution. He is planting in two large wine barrels, as gardens can do well in such containers. And it’s not too late to plant a summer garden and still harvest radishes by the end of May.

Smith will split one barrel lengthwise and the other in half, resulting in a garden of roughly 21 square feet. Smith would have liked to have planted more barrels, but was limited by available space.

“In a 10 (-foot) by 10 (-foot) space, you can rotate planting and you can feed all year long for a family of four,” he said.

Smith will rely on a compost his company produces, one that includes coffee grounds, eggshells, pineapple tops and fruit and vegetable scraps.

He’ll use heirloom seeds available at Sustainably Yours and local nurseries such as Southwest Gardener in Phoenix.

Smith will show workers how to water, fertilize, tend and harvest the summer crop of vegetables. In addition to radishes, the garden will include artichokes, pumpkins, pasilla peppers, honeydew, okra, zucchini, cucumbers, yellow squash, mustard greens, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley and crimson sweet watermelon.

The St. Mary’s “kitchen garden” will yield a 45-day supply of food beginning in late May with the radish harvest. It will continue through August when the pumpkins ripen. Once the harvest is over, Smith will replenish the soil and plant the fall garden.

Sixteen percent of the food distributed by the food bank is produce, most of which is from grocery stores, according to Damore of St. Mary’s.

“We welcome home-grown food,” Damore said, adding that the current economic downturn has increased demand 80 percent.

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