June 4, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)
To help bring awareness to the problem of hunger throughout Arizona communities during the summer months, Angel MedFlight employees are working together to collect food during the month of June for donation to St. Mary’s Food Bank of Phoenix.
In 2011-13, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that from 2001 to 2013, 842 million people (approximately one in eight of the world’s population) suffered from chronic hunger, “regularly not getting enough food to conduct an active lifestyle.” Hunger and poverty statistics, available on feedingamerica.org, show that in 2012, 49 million Americans in the United States lived in food insecure households. In Arizona, the hunger rates are higher than the national averages:
- 17.8% of Arizonans are food insecure, compared to 15.9% nationally
- 28.2% of Arizonan children face hunger, compared to 21.6% nationally
- Arizona ranks third in the nation for high food insecurity rates
Thankfully, there are numbers of non-profit organizations, like St. Mary’s, that stand together and refuse to accept world hunger.
As you may know, Angel MedFlight is headquartered in Arizona and St. Mary’s Food Bank has a long history here in Arizona. Founded by John Van Hengel in 1967, St. Mary’s was the world’s first food bank. Van Hengel started the concept of people “depositing” food, so others in need could “withdrawal” it later, by approaching his local Phoenix church. The church members were thrilled with this idea and donated $3,000 and an empty building to Van Hengel. The rest is history. Van Hengel set a wonderful example for the rest of the country and other food banks soon opened across the U.S. Today, St. Mary’s is the largest food bank in the country.**
There will be a bit of friendly competition as all the departments at Angel MedFlight compete to individually collect the most non-perishable items to donate to St. Mary’s Food Bank of Phoenix. Departments will band together to collect items like peanut butter, canned fruits, vegetables and meats, along with other items needed by St. Mary’s. Locally, St. Mary’s gives emergency food assistance to a majority of the 2 million Arizonans that fall into the poverty category.
Everyone at Angel MedFlight is excited to be involved and the donations and friendly competion has already started. At the end of the month we’ll hand-deliver all the items to St. Mary’s Food Bank and a winning department will be announced. However, we’ll all feel like winners, having been able to take part in helping prevent some families from going hungry this summer.
For a list of other not-for-profit hunger relief organizations in your area, or anywhere in the country, visit greatnonprofits.org.