St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix seeks extra help through holidays

St. Mary's Food Bank needs 8,000 to 10,000 turkeys to feed Valley families in need.
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 11:03 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) Thanksgiving is just over two weeks away, and local food banks are already feeling the rush. That includes St. Mary’s Food Bank, Arizona’s largest food bank, which says it is in urgent need of volunteers ahead of the holidays.

Over the past year, all food banks have seen more people relying on them for their day-to-day meals. According to Jerry Brown, St. Mary’s director of media relations, the food bank has also seen a huge increase this year in people coming to the facility for the first time.

Through the holidays, St. Mary’s says it needs about 500 people a day to pack and distribute food boxes to families across the Valley. Non-perishable items are being accepted, or a $20 donation is enough for the food bank to buy a fresh box of produce or a turkey. St. Mary’s says that right now, it is short roughly 8,000 to 10,000 turkeys.

St Mary’s has seen a 30% increase in the number of people they are helping right now compared to this time last year. That number is up 65% from 2021, and the food bank believes it’s due to inflation and the rising cost of living in the Valley.

“We are going to be distributing, we anticipate, more than 20,000 turkeys and holiday meals and produce boxes in the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving,” Brown said. “Seniors who had fixed incomes, they thought they had enough money to get through the month, then all the sudden inflation rose to the point where the rising cost in medicine, gas, food, rent in some cases they needed to come to the food bank for help for the first time. We have definitely seen a huge increase in the number of people coming, especially among first-time visitors to the food bank, and a subset within that is seniors.”

Brown says it will be a hard push with all hands on deck to get through the holidays.

Distribution hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. See the list of locations here.

Tap/click here to learn more about St. Mary’s Food Bank.

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