Community Support – Major Contributors to Our Success
It takes a myriad of support from an inspired and generous community to take care of about 14,500 qualified families in the East Valley and provide each member of the household with 12 nutritious meals a month.
Volunteers at the Apache Junction Food Bank make the biggest commitment by donating 14,000 hours a year to receive, sort, package and move about 900,000 pounds of food through the facility. They are remarkable, selfless and fun people!
Donations from individuals are our main source of money. We keep our administrative costs below 7% to honor our pledge that 93-94% of contributions directly benefit our hungry families.
Recently, we stepped up grant-writing efforts, and we continue to collaborate in unique ways with the local community – its businesses, service groups, churches and government – to meet our clients’ needs. Here are some of the ways that we have collectively and enthusiastically helped our families:
Local Safeways, Albertsons’ give to the hungry families of the East Valley
The Albertsons and Safeway Foundation recently awarded the AJ Food Bank with a $5,000 grant. Eradicating hunger is a top priority at Albertsons and Safeway, which represents one of the largest grocery retailers in North America. It is also one of the largest contributors to food banks and hunger-relief programs in neighborhoods the stores serve.
Safeway stores on Apache Trail and Baseline and the Albertson’s on Ellsworth also donate tens of thousands of pounds of food to the AJ Food Bank annually.
“In Arizona we donate over $1 million dollars annually to food bank and pantry partners who help individuals and families going through a difficult time,” says Nancy Keane with Albertsons and Safeway.
They have taken a special interest in food drives and collaborations to feed Arizona’s children. Currently nearly 1 in 3 children, 1 in 5 Arizonans, and 1 in 7 seniors in Arizona live in poverty, putting the state in the top three worst in the county with these statistics.
The foundation recognizes that it is well positioned to raise awareness, engage volunteers and raise funds to support innovative and effective programs throughout the country focused on ensuring every child in America has access to a healthy breakfast.
Safeway, Apache Trail, Store Manager Jonathan Boggess, AJ Food Bank Volunteer Greg Joens, AJ Food Bank Treasurer Georga Humphreys and Safeway, Baseline, Store Manager Mark King meet at the Food Bank to commemorate a $5,000 grant from the stores’ foundations.
Support from Randy Lowe’s Family
AJ Food Bank President Bob Mohle, left, accepts a check for $2,700 raised during a golf tournament honoring the late Randy Lowe (a former food bank volunteer and Gold Canyon resident). Gary Kloefkorn, center, is a new board member of our nonprofit. They are pictured with Bill Jones.
Signal Butte Walmart Manager Jeff Rowland became a believer in the mission of the largest food bank in the East Valley, so he recently joined our board of directors. He has championed our mission with his colleagues and together with the Apache Junction store, eight area Walmarts pooled resources and contributed more than $10,000 in grants in 2018 to the AJ Food Bank. But that’s not all. They supplied volunteer help for events, donated hundreds of thousands of pounds of food and are trying out special promos in the store to help educate shoppers about how and what we provide to area families in need.
Superstition Mountain Rotary Consistent in Support
From left, Lee Holmes, Ed Shockley, Roberta Holmes, Harvey Clark and Mark Stover are just five of a dozen local Rotarians who helped in our warehouse this summer. The Superstition Mountain Rotary Club has been very generous to our nonprofit with funds, money for fresh milk for families and their time.
Others who come to the food bank in groups include Wells Fargo, Fry’s and Walmart. Employee teams of 12-20 people regularly volunteer their time for events such as the annual postal drive or for a specific day or evening.
POSTAL FOOD DRIVE’S Significant Benefit
The 26th Annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive in May brought in almost 30,000 pounds of food to the AJ Food Bank! Hundred of families are helped because of this collective effort right before the summer, when we need it most.
Our letter carriers joined thousands of volunteers throughout the nation to provide food for millions of struggling American families. Horizon Health in AJ, Mesa Walmart, AJ Fry’s Food and Drug and area Wells Fargo teams answered our call for nearly 100 volunteers needed to deal with the mountain of donations. In addition, Fry’s supplied thousands of bags for the effort.
Dozens of volunteers, including AJ Mayor Jeff Serdy and AJFB Event Chair Sharon Allison-Brown, at left, worked many hours during the 26th Annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive held in May.
We were joined by Superstition Fire and Medical District Chief Mike Faber, AJFB Board President Bob Mohle, AJ Mayor Jeff Serdy, AJFB Board Member and Event Chair Sharon Allison-Brown, AJ Post Office Coordinator Debbie Richardson, AJ City Councilwoman Christa Rizzi, postal worker and Lisa, AJFB Operations Manager Jim Jones and AJ Police Chief Thomas Kelly.
Local Champions in Business, Events and the City
More than $700 and 1,000 pounds of nonperishables and water were donated to the AJ Food Bank thanks to Gold Canyon-based real estate experts Lori Blank & Associates LLC, which serves the East Valley. The real estate agents had tons of fun with our volunteers at the April event, where locals brought documents to shred along with a food or monetary donation.
The annual Arizona Renaissance Festival, which will return Feb. 9-March 31 to Gold Canyon, supports the AJ Food Bank is a variety of ways. It displays our banner for thousands of people to see throughout its run. It also supplies us a booth area in which we share our information on the last weekend of the festival. In addition, families can exchange cans of food to benefit our programs for free children’s tickets. We collect some money as well as 3,000 pounds of food – enough to feed 125 people for five days. The exposure and longtime collaboration with the event organizers are invaluable.
The city of Apache Junction, with the recommendation from its Health and Human Services Commission, contracted with us for $33,000 to fulfill our mandate to give bags of basic staple and nonperishable items to qualified Apache Junction residents.
Sundt Construction Company Continues Nearly Decade of Support
AJ Food Bank volunteers Jean Humphries and Sharon and Dennis Samuel flank Sundt representative Lisa White. Lisa visited recently to deliver a $4,500 grant to our nonprofit to help feed 40,000 people annually.
Sundt employees give back to the communities where they live and work through the Sundt Foundation, which provides grants that improve the lives of disadvantaged children and adults. The foundation receives most of its funding through employee contributions, which are matched by the company.
They have provided grants to the AJ Food Bank several times during the last decade. To date, it has donated more than $8.6 million in aid to community organizations in Arizona, California and Texas.
The Fry’s Food Stores in Apache Junction and on Signal Butte in Mesa have lent a hand to support grants to our cause, provide volunteers to man events, donate thousands of bags for our annual postal drive and give thousands of pounds of food annually, among other things. Thanks to managers Bob Zimmerman and Chris Adams!
The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation has also provided a grant to the Food Bank to help with truck expenses and continue our mission. The foundation was established in 1997 before the D-backs ever played a Major League game. The mission of the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation is to support three main areas of need: homelessness, indigent healthcare and children’s programs of all types, including education and youth baseball field development. In addition, the Foundation has created strategic programs that address the needs of our community including veterans, police, teachers, and firefighters – just to name a few. They host many fundraising events annually to raise this money for deserving non-profit organizations in the state. Their Evening on the Diamond, a red-carpet affair, is one of the top fundraising events in the valley. They also host a golf tournament and a huge spring run – the Arizona Diamond Backs Race Against Cancer. To learn more, donate or participate in any of the team’s fundraisers, go to www.mlb.com/dbacks/community/foundation/donate.