Natural Disasters Cause St. Mary’s Food Bank To Cut Back In Arizona

Published: Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 2:38pm
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Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Edgar Milan places a pallet at the St. Mary's Food Bank warehouse in Maryvale.

The Maryvale site of the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance serves 600 to 800 people on a typical day. The Alliance also ships food to hundreds of partner agencies throughout Arizona.

But hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas, and the California wildfires, are having an effect on the Alliance.

Jerry Brown, spokesman for St. Mary’s Food Bank, said its warehouse has about half the food it usually does this time of year.

“We have put out messages to our agency partners that for the next few weeks, we’re going to have to cut down the amount of food that we’re distributing out to them,” he said.

According to Brown, some food donations have gone to those stricken areas instead of to Arizona. The Alliance sometimes buys food to supplement donations, but shipping costs are also prohibitive right now.

“It’ll cost you double what it normally would’ve cost for a truck of, say, green beans, to come to Arizona,” he said.

Exactly how they’ll cut back on food disbursements will depend on the supplies they have on hand on any given day, although Brown said produce accounts for almost all of the shortfall.

The good news is the food bank has plenty of emergency food boxes to hand out.

Brown hopes the shortage will end by early to mid-November.

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