Ford Motor Company and the Arizona Ford dealers will make a $50,000 donation to Phoenix-based St. Mary’s Food Bank to support its Emergency Food Box program and other vital services.
The Arizona Ford dealers stepped forward with a $25,000 commitment to the prominent food bank operation recently. Ford’s Operation Better World Phoenix committee – overseen by the Dearborn-based Ford Motor Company Fund – agreed to a match bringing the total to $50,000.
The donation will allow St. Mary’s, which distributes more than 45,000 emergency food boxes a month around the state of Arizona under normal circumstances, to provide an additional 350,000 meals to those in need.
“We have a long-standing partnership with St. Mary’s and have provided critical funding and also organized team volunteer events packaging emergency food boxes during Hunger Action Month every year,” said Brad Jones, Ford regional manager.
Arizona Ford Dealer Chairman and San Tan Ford Owner Tim Hovik added, “The Arizona Ford dealers take pride in being an integral part of our communities, and when we heard about the great need amidst the COVID-19 crisis, we immediately wanted to help those around us.”
Ford is no stranger to the hunger cause. Locally, Ford has given approximately $1.8 million in grants and vehicle donations to community-based causes in Arizona over the past decade. This does not include the individual efforts of local Ford dealers whose efforts have been significant, particularly in the area of food drive collections.
“We provide 250,000 meals a day to Arizona families on a normal day. These are not normal days, and we are committed to helping as many in need as possible and operating to uphold our responsibility to the community,” said Tom Kertis, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank.
“These are unprecedented times. We know that we will get through this. But we can’t do it alone, and we’re lucky we don’t have to with the help of great friends like Ford and other companies who have stepped up and asked, ‘What can we do?’”
St. Mary’s Food Bank has implemented best practices in the areas of cleaning, sanitizing, social distancing and having staff and volunteers who feel ill stay home. The food bank has also gone to a no contact model for food distribution.
Other critical information from St. Mary’s Food Bank:
Incoming food from grocery stores and food drives has virtually stopped. Combined, these areas typically bring in nine semi-trucks of food per week. St. Mary’s may need to purchase food in the near future to offset this shortfall. St. Mary’s is also facing its highest volume of food being distributed in 53 years. That’s why donations like Ford’s are critical.
St. Mary’s biggest challenge at this point is a shortage of volunteers. The organization’s volunteers have declined by more than 75% as many groups have cancelled. They need volunteers to pack emergency food boxes, senior boxes and family backpacks. They are reducing the number of people on a packing line to maximize social distancing.
Walk-in volunteers are welcome to join any of the following shifts at its main warehouse (2831 N. 31st Ave. in Phoenix):
· 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday
· 8-10 a.m. and noon-2 p.m. Saturday