We are proud to be hosting an organic canned food drive for St Mary’s – the world’s first food bank at this intentional gathering! We will be giving those who arrive with an *ORGANIC* canned food item will receive $2.00 off of the door entry price – so get a discount at the door and help feed the needy this holiday season!
“The poor we shall always have with us, but why the hungry?”
– John van Hengel, founder, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance
Founded in 1967, St. Mary’s is the world’s first food bank. The idea came to founder John Van Hengel when he was volunteering at St. Vincent DePaul, serving dinner to those in need.
When a mother stated that soup kitchens and grocery store dumpsters were the only way she could feed her children, the concept of a food bank was born, wherein individuals and companies with excess money and food could “deposit” it, and those in need could “withdraw” it. Van Hengel approached his local parish, St. Mary’s Basilica, with his vision and was given $3,000 and an abandoned building. Van Hengel’s idea became a 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. Soon, other countries were following his lead.
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.
Hunger Statistics in Arizona
- Currently nearly 1 in 3 children, 1 in 5 Arizonans, and 1 in 7 seniors in Arizona live in poverty.*
- Arizona’s hunger rates are higher than national averages: 17.8% of Arizonans are food insecure, compared to 15.9% nationally, and 28.2% of Arizonan children face hunger, compared to 21.6% nationally.
- Arizona ranks third in the country for high child food insecurity rates, behind only New Mexico and Mississippi, with 456,760 children facing hunger on a daily basis.
- 2 million Arizonans are considered working poor, living at or below the Federal Poverty Guideline. This is the majority of those served by the Food Bank’s emergency food box program.
- More than 40% of the households receiving emergency food assistance have at least one person who is working.