• July 17, 2024

For a worthy cause: St. Mary's Food Bank

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance and its creation:

 John van Hengel, a great businessman of Dutch origin, was born in Wisconsin, and in 1967 he founded the St. Mary's Food Bank.

 It all started about a year before he founded the bank of Saint Mary's, when John collected citrus fruits and other food items, took them to a soup kitchen, and gave the surplus to missions for the homeless in Phoenix, Arizona. He later discovered that large amounts of food of all kinds (frozen, fresh, non-perishable, dented cans, rice, sugar, whose bags had holes, etc.) were thrown away in grocery stores that were fit for human consumption but not that they could sell in supermarkets. Within a year he managed to establish a place to store and distribute all that food. He named it St. Mary's Food Bank Phoenix(1967), after a large donation of $3,000 and a bakery building inherited by St. Mary's Basilica. He was later named the "Father of Food Banks." All the food he collected went to decentralized distribution centers like food pantries and community centers.

 This initiative met 2 goals: feeding the hungry and solving the food industry's unforgivable waste of perfectly edible food. Over the years, the food bank initiative spread beyond the United States and also reached many in Europe and South Africa. After his great initiative, John van Hengel received many honors and awards for his leadership, career, and multiple humanitarian actions.

 What kind of Comunity Services does this foundation offer?

 Its activities are divided in several ways for better distribution:

Emergency Food Boxes: They feed those families in a critical situation, with infants and the elderly. They are stocked with nutritious food in rations sufficient for three days.

 Mobile Cupboards: It is done with schools, churches, and other associations that distribute fresh products weekly and monthly to needy people.

Cafe for Kids: Distributed daily to children residing in low-income neighborhoods, or those with after-school programs, summer recreation centers, and other educational programs, reaching more than 5,000 hot and cold nutritious meals daily.

Where is St. Mary's Food Bank Located?

 Its main office and warehouse (distribution center) are located at 2831 N. 31st Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85009, but it also has more locations in AZ:

  • St. Marys Food Bank Alliance Glendale: 5605 N 55th Ave Glendale, AZ - 85301.
  • St. Marys Food Bank (Knight Transportation Community Services Center) 3131 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85017.
  • St. Marys Food Bank Alliance in Surprise: 13050 W. Elm Street, Surprise, AZ 85378.
  • Northern Arizona Office 5200 E. Cortland Blvd, Suite A15, Flagstaff, AZ 86004.

How to Get Food from St. Mary's Food Bank:

 If you are near any of the sites I have listed above, you can get the meals just by going to the site. If you want to obtain any information on hours and contact before going to the site or you cannot find its location, you can call AZ at 602-528-3434 or 1-800-445-1914.

For food, volunteer, donation, or partnership visit St. Mary's official website

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