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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Food, Food Banks & Pantries

Mission: To alleviate hunger through the gathering and distribution of food while encouraging self-sufficiency, collaboration, advocacy and education. John van Hengel founded the world's first food bank, St. Mary’s, in 1967. He had been volunteering at the St. Vincent DePaul soup kitchen, serving dinner to those in need when a young mother told him that she depended on soup kitchens and food from grocery store dumpsters to feed her children. Van Hengel’s heart was broken. His conversation with the young woman ignited a desire to help hungry families like hers, Van Hengel came up with the idea of a food bank, where individuals and companies with excess money and food could “deposit” it, and those in need could “withdraw” it. His local parish, St. Mary’s Basilica, gave him $3,000 and an abandoned building where he was able to turn his dream into reality, and in gratitude, he named his organization “St. Mary’s.” Inspired by his accomplishments, cities nationwide began opening food banks to feed those in need. Van Hengel’s devotion to feeding the hungry has inspired the opening thousands of food banks around the world. Today, St. Mary’s Food Bank is one of the largest food banks in the United States, and proud of the impact it has had on Arizona — and the world.

Results: St. Mary's Food Bank has distributed more than 900 million pounds of food to the hungry of Arizona in its history.

Target demographics: Hunger & Homelessness

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 400 active programs by distributing 250,000 lbs. every day.

Geographic areas served: Our primary service area covers 81,000 square miles and includes two-thirds of Maricopa County and all of Northern Arizona, including Yavapai, Gila, Coconino, Apache, Navajo, and Mohave Counties.

Programs: Del Webb Warehouse Pack & Sort, Knight Transportation Distribution Center, Community Kitchen, CK Catering, Hunger Heroes, Mobile Pantry, Citrus Gleaners, Kids Cafe and our Backpack program. Food is dispersed throughout the state through more than 300 partner agencies.

Community Stories

72 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

St. Mary's Food Bank runs an amazing volunteer program! I coordinate events at St. Mary's for one of the largest employers in Arizona and the feedback that I get from volunteers is consistent - events are well ran, productive and everyone feels like they are contributing to something that makes a difference in the world. This has always been my experience as well. Great people doing great things for the community. I love St. Mary's Food Bank!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If you are looking to do a group volunteer day, St Mary's is the perfect organization to work with. We are the product development team at PetSmart and we had a great time. It was fulfilling and we loved how we were able to interact directly with the people we were helping. Thanks for having us St. Mary's!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We got to work with different groups and learned something from everyone of them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Fantastic experience as always! I am so proud to work for an organization where community as well as the partnership with St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance is of high importance. There is no better feeling that giving back and I am beyond impressed with this nonprofit! Thank you for all you do for our community and the families within!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ASU's technology office volunteered here in May and we had a wonderful time! It was a fun and fulfilling way to give back. It is so amazing what St. Mary's is able to do for those in need and we are so honored to have had a small part in that! We can't wait to come back! Also, the music choices on the day we were there were fantastic!

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

Moon Valley High School volunteered with St. Mary's Food Bank on a Saturday in May and WE LOVED OUR TIME THERE! We had heard great things about the food packing program from our football coach and team, and the experience was more than we expected in such a phenomenal way. Our group was able to bond and share a moment together that will be unforgettable, all while giving back to our community. We cannot wait to come back :)

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I coordinate the charities for our firm and this is by far the best one we do. We have fun doing it and feel so good about it afterwards. We like to make it a bit of a competition to see which line will finish first so we pack a lot of boxes in the time we are there. It doesn't take up a lot of time and it is such a wonderful thing. Everyone should consider doing this, individuals, companies, just everyone. Oh yeah and if you are enthusiastic about it, you may win a shirt!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our associates at Breakthru Beverage always have a great time and leave feeling good about the time they've put in to helping such a great charity. We will definitely continue donating and volunteering at St. Mary's!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love donating my time to this organization. Not only are you helping the community, but the people coordinating the event are great. They respond quickly to emails, they create a fun lively atmosphere and it's a great place for large groups to volunteer.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at St. Mary's as part of a corporate group and had an incredibly positive experience. Our team loved helping with the distribution of food boxes as it allowed us to also interact with clients. Would definitely recommend this opportunity to others!

1 Marina Shulman von B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was one of the most memorable volunteering experiences To date. I was given the opportunity to volunteer with them through Junior League of Phoenix. I had the honor of working the day before Thanksgiving. We had a lot of fun with several other volunteers working together to distribute many meals to families in need. The representatives of St. Mary’s Food Bank where there to make sure we were knowledgeable on what we were doing and doing it safely. It was so much fun! I can’t wait to get another opportunity to work with them again.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our company had such a great time volunteering at St. Mary's Food Bank over the last few weeks. The team at SMFB was so great to work with and gave us clear direction on how to keep the assembly line going quickly in order to get as much food as possible to those in need. We will definitely be volunteering again in the near future!

Michael W.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

St. Mary's is an awesome place to volunteer! We here at Tallwave love how they are able to handle large groups and make it fun at the same time. We will definitely be coming back to St. Mary's Food Bank for more volunteering in the future!

Carmi Jenners S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family and friends gathered at St. Mary's to honor the late Tim Smith for Show Up for Smitty. The event could not have been a bigger success! St. Mary's was so accommodating for our group of 100+ people. Friends are asking if this will be an annual event! Thank you St. Mary's for letting us remember a truly wonderful man who loved so many people.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I work for Universal Technical Institute and my team wanted to give back to the community. Our company offers time for team members to participate in community service during our normal business hours. We decided to help out at St. Mary's Food Bank. They were well organized and friendly. We really had a great time and will be back again in the spring as a team. I am also looking forward to bringing my family this month!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was my first time volunteering at St. Mary's Food Bank. I really did not have any expectations because of that, but WOW, I was very impressed with the operation of this food bank. Very well organized and well run. It was great meeting all kinds of people from employees to other volunteers. I can see myself doing this again and again. Thank you for a great experience and feeding the needy as I can see the happiness on the people that really need this food for them and their families, that was the best part! THANK YOU AGAIN!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Phoenix Boy Scout Troop 6 had a great experience packing 1,080 emergency food boxes in less than 2 hours! The Scouts loved that they were physically active, unpacking flats of food, filling the supplies at the conveyor belts, packing the boxes with food, taping boxes closed, loading boxes onto a pallet & then shrink wrapping the pallet of boxes together. The music was going, the boys were busy, they did a good deed, they left feeling a little tired, and it was truly a good time. It's unanimous that we will be back to do more work at St. Mary's Food Bank!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a great volunteering experience. The event was very organized and warehouse workers got all volunteers to get involved, working together to accomplish an awesome goal. ADESA/Openlane is all about helping others and I'm grateful our Finance Team experienced this event together. Way to go SMFB!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best Western believes in giving back to the communities in which we live and operate. Last week, 160 of our corporate office team members packed over 50,000 lbs. of food for Phoenix area families in need. We appreciate this opportunity to continue to partner with St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance on this important work! #BestWesternLife #BWSmiles

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Had a great experience with St. Mary's Food Bank. Staff is always great, even got to service at a different location (3131 W. Thomas) with our school volleyball team. Thankful that we have organizations here to help AZ residents. St. Mary's is always flexible, allows kids to come and serve and has always accommodated the large group of kids I bring in.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

St. Mary’s was a great host for community service I plan on going back due to their great flexibility and friendly staff.