St. Mary’s Food Bank ready to help after Maricopa Food Pantry was destroyed in fire

St. Mary's Food Bank says it's ready to donate food, equipment, even a mobile food pantry to help Maricopa after a fire destroyed a pantry there.
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 7:11 PM MST
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A warehouse stocked with pasta and bread in Phoenix holds more than just a few items on a grocery list. It’s a lifeline for the Arizona families who are choosing which bills to pay. “The rising price of gas. The rising price of rent. The rising price of food,” said Jerry Brown with St. Mary’s Food Bank. “That’s hurting everybody. But if you’re the person who’s on the edge, that pushes you over the edge.”

Brown says because of the fire that destroyed more than 50,000 pounds of food at a pantry in Maricopa, it had to cancel orders set to go out this morning. St. Mary’s provides the Maricopa Food Pantry with more than half of its donations, according to Brown. “Buildings you can replace. Food you can replace. People you can’t,” he said, thankful at least no one was hurt.

St. Mary’s works with more than 800 partners a year. The nonprofit is ready to donate food, equipment, even a mobile food pantry to the so-called “food desert” in Maricopa. “That’s an area where food is hard to get ahold of. Not very many grocery stores and when you’re food insecure and you’re relying on a food bank, there’s not another one down the block you can go to.”

St. Mary’s distributes more than 300,000 pounds of food in our state every single day. Throughout 2020 when COVID-19 suddenly shut everything down, St. Mary’s was pumping out a record-breaking 10 million pounds of food a month. Numbers aren’t near those levels yet, but Brown thinks inflation and gas prices are impacting people at a slower pace. “I was talking to a lady at one of our pantries in Surprise today. Her husband is a cancer patient, so forget about the doctor bills,” Brown said. “Just driving back and forth to chemotherapy every day.” If you need help, click/tap here to find the nearest food pantry near you.