St. Mary's gets a "sweet" donation in the heat of summer

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PHOENIX -- When the Valley’s summer temperatures go up, unfortunately, donations to St. Mary's Food Bank go down.

Donations right now are down 28 percent from last summer.

According to St. Mary’s president and CEO, Terry Shannon, donations in the summertime drop because of summer vacations, high utility bills and, specifically this year, record high gas prices.

"The awareness drops a bit during the summer, but the demand goes up," he said. "School breakfast and lunch programs aren't available for kids who need them."

Shannon is urging people to continue to make donations over the summer months because demand is up, especially for kids who relied on school lunches.

Those kids rely heavily on food boxes, which comes from food bank donations.

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance hands out more than 1,000 emergency food boxes to individuals and families every day. Those boxes contain the essentials -- non-perishable items like cereals, canned tuna and chicken, canned fruits and vegetables, dry pasta and rice, and peanut butter.

On a separate note, St. Mary's got a different type of donation Monday morning, one that will be an unexpected treat for families receiving emergency food boxes.

The Girl Scouts - Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) will wrap up its 2012 cookie-sale season with what has become a decade-long tradition -- a massive donation of cookies to St. Mary's.

More than 15,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies will be donated at the St. Mary's warehouse, and at the same time, Shamrock Farms will be matching the donation with 10,000 school-size cartons of milk.

To find out more about St. Mary's Food Bank, log on to