In the 53 year history of St. Food Bank. Mary, Jerry Brown, communications director for the nonprofit, says they never distribute more than 10 million pounds of food a month. But since thenThe COVID-19 pandemic begins March, 10 million pounds is their monthly average.
“We are now distributing as much as 11 million pounds of food a month,” said Brown. “Everything from the way we make the boxes when we distribute the food to the way we get it to our destination has a total difference of 180 degrees.”
According to Brown, St. Mary’s conducted a survey of people who received food donations in June and found half of them had never been to a food bank before.
“In fact, a lot of people who come, they know how to get to the food bank because they are people who have volunteered here before or they are people who have donated food or money here before. “The only difference is this time they are on the other side of the line,” said Brown.
In line with the trend, Brown expects a record number of people needing Thanksgiving turkeys this year as well.
“In the past, many families got together for the holidays and maybe 15 people in one family would use one turkey. With social distancing, now a family in three different locations needs three turkeys, “he said.
St. Mary’s Food Bank is one of more than 100 Arizona nonprofits supported by The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com’s annual holiday giving campaign, The Season for Sharing.
Last year, Season for Sharing gave $ 30,000 to St. Louis. Mary’s Food Bank and $ 20,000 to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to support their work with people experiencing food insecurity.
This year, the two nonprofits are facing unprecedented demand. Consider helping out by donating to Season to Share today.
Arizonans need food aid more than ever, especially for holidays
On November 10, around 395,000 The Arizonans don’t work and collect profits. Since September, it happened requires a maximum amount of $ 240 a weekfor unemployment insurance, or “pandemic unemployment compensation.”
The need for food aid was so high that on October 29, Governor Doug Ducey announced an additional $ 1.6 million in assistance for the Arizona food bank. The funds are mostly aimed at families and seniors affected by the pandemic.
With the presidential election timed and the spike in COVID-19 cases, Brown said. Mary struggled to accommodate people’s needs. As of November 13, the food bank still needs 7,700 turkeys to hit its target of 12,000 by Thanksgiving Day.
She is hopeful, after all.
“I hope this year people have a real understanding of what people need,” Brown said. “If you haven’t had COVID in your family, if you don’t have to change jobs, if you don’t have to cut your hours of work – these are the people I hope will step up and make a donation and make a difference this year. ”
“This is the most challenging in 53 years of the World’s First Food Bank serving the hungry people of Arizona,” said St Mary’s Food Bank President and CEO Tom Kertis in a press release. “We are grateful to all who helped the Food Bank say ‘Yes!’ to all the families in need and we ask you to help us again during this special time of year. “
On Thanksgiving, Brown said the Arizona National Guard would handle contactless distribution. Queues will be limited to six to eight cars at a time and drivers will show their ID through the window before the lunch boxes are loaded into their luggage.
“We hope a meal like this can give these families a sense of normality,” Brown said. “If one day it can feel normal in a year like no other, that’s how we know we’ve done our job.”
Association of St. Vincent de Paul will serve 4,500 drive-thru holidaysfood
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, another Arizona non-profit supported by Season for Sharing, operates two free meal programs serving more than 4,000 homeless and low-income people every day.
They have changed their approach during the pandemic. In their dining room across from the Phoenix metro, nonprofits pack food for guests to take away. And during home visits, trained volunteers bring lunch boxes and offer emotional support.
St. Vincent de Paul also operates a food reclamation facility where wholesalers, food drive organizers and restaurants can donate food.
“In the beginning, it was very difficult to move from the social hug model to the social distancing model,” said Danielle McMahon, director of food service for the not-for-profit organization. “The dining room, sometimes with hundreds of people and volunteers, goes to the fast food service.”
McMahon says St. Vincent de Paul is preparing to serve more than 4,500 lunch boxes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. On November 24, St. Vincent de Paul will take part in the 28th Turkey Tuesday tour, the largest one-day turkey tour of the Valley hosted by 12 News. Target for this year: 30,000 turkeys.
“We really hope to see the community come out and help our neighbors so far. It really takes the whole community to support our mission to achieve that, “he said.
The turkey, along with sides such as mashed potatoes, sauces and stuffing, will all be self-cooked and placed in lunchboxes at five St. Vincent de Paul. This year, Salad and Go has contributed enough salads to accompany every box.
“We are all a big family, and the fact that we are able to provide more home-cooked food is really special and important to us,” said McMahon.
Holiday meals will be served through the drive-thru window. If a family doesn’t own a car, McMahon says that St. Vincent de Paul also received guests to bring. To allow for social distancing, the number of volunteers on Thanksgiving Day has been reduced from 250 to 20. All will wear masks and gloves, said McMahon.
“Thanksgiving and Christmas are just two days of the year when people give something to the people around them. But the work we do is more than that, “he said. “My hope is that in a year like this, people start to realize that someone needs a helping hand every day of the year and they can be the one to lend it.”
How to donate to Season to Share
With the help of our readers, we’ve raised – and awarded – nearly $ 68 million to statewide nonprofits over the past 26 years. Help us continue that support.
Here are four ways to donate to Season for Sharing:
- Fill out the secure online form at sharing.azcentral.com.
- Type “SHARING” into 91-999 and click the link in the text message.
- Go online at facebook.com/seasonforsharing and look for a “DONATE HERE” post.
- Clip the coupon on Page 4A of the Republic of Arizona, fill and send it to PO Box 29250, Phoenix AZ 85038-9250.
Where did the money go?
When you give a Season for Sharing, your donation will go towards helping nonprofits that support education, feed the hungry, and help struggling families.
Every dollar from your donation and companion fund goes to the Arizona nonprofit, because all overhead and fundraising is covered by The Republic.
Match your donation
By partnering with our community partner Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and the Arizona Community Foundation, your charitable donations have an even bigger impact.
Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust matches 50 cents to $ 100,000.
The Arizona Community Foundation provides a grant application portal and manages donation collection and grant distribution.
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