Tag Archives: St. Mary’s Food Bank


Snooze in Gilbert will open July 15th

On Wednesday, July 15, downtown Gilbert’s red-hot restaurant row in the historic Heritage District is about to get even tastier with the opening of Snooze, an A.M. Eatery (310 N. Gilbert Rd.) inside an all-new building built between Joyride Taco House and Oregano’s. Located just north of the intersection of Gilbert Road and Page Avenue, this custom-constructed 4,200 sq.-ft. space featuring an inviting glass storefront and an extensive dining patio will house the third Valley location of this popular breakfast and brunch hotspot. The new Gilbert location will showcase Snooze’s signature bold, colorful atmosphere and retro-futuristic décor, best described as The Jetsons meets Happy Days. Diners can settle in at one of Snooze’s famed ’tilt-a-wheel’ circular booths, or step through the series of rollaway garage doors and unwind on the expansive patio.  And as always, Snooze will offer free coffee and games of corn hole and ping pong to anyone waiting for a table.

Founded in Denver, CO in 2006, Snooze opened its first Arizona location in Phoenix in November 2013, with a grand opening that raised funds for four handpicked nonprofits including Not My Kid and St. Mary’s Food Bank, the oldest food bank in the world. Snooze opened its second location in Tempe near ASU in December 2014 and partnered with Tempe Community Action Agency and Project C.U.R.E. as grand opening nonprofit partners.  In total, Snooze has raised over $27,000 for Arizona-based charities during openings.  Snooze Gilbert’s grand opening will raise funds for two handpicked nonprofit partners, the Gilbert Historical Museum and the Gilbert Education Foundation.


Desert Schools plans day of service at food banks

Summer break for many children means time playing at the pool, going to camp and family vacations. However, for many in Arizona the summer is a very difficult time due to food insecurity. Desert Schools Federal Credit Union wants to make a difference.

On June 24, more than 150 managers and employees from Arizona’s largest credit union will be participating in a day of service to help fight childhood hunger, volunteering at four Valley locations: Feed My Starving Children, St. Mary’s Food Bank, United Food Bank and Valley of the Sun United Way. Participants will be inspecting food for quality, checking dates, sorting food into categories, weighing food and most importantly packing meals.

“Community involvement is one of our main pillars at Desert Schools and for this year’s day of service we are focusing on a critical issue of childhood hunger,” said Emma Garcia, AVP of Community Relations. “Volunteering is a great way to help food banks and other charities run their operations more efficiently. We are looking forward to supporting these very worthy organizations and their causes.”

Desert Schools will also be coordinating an in-house food drive; collecting peanut butter, jelly, bread, saltines, non-sugary cereal, canned tuna and diapers that will be donated to area food banks. These specific items are the most needed by food banks in the summer.

Arizona ranks third in the country for childhood hunger, behind only New Mexico and Mississippi, with 456,760 children facing hunger on a daily basis. This issue is especially challenging for many families who are already struggling, presenting the need to figure out extra meals during the summer that schools provide during the school year. Desert Schools hopes that volunteering at these exemplary organizations they will help raise awareness of this important issue and make an impact in the community it serves.


Arizona State Credit Union donates $5K to local food banks

During its 64th Annual Meeting, Arizona State Credit Union demonstrated one of its core values by donating $5,000 to Arizona community food banks. The recipients of this year’s donation include St. Mary’s Food Bank and Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

“Making a difference in our Arizona communities is a key component of our mission at Arizona State Credit Union. To support this mission, we donate funds during our Annual Meeting to local food banks, which we have done for the past several years,” said David E. Doss, President/CEO of Arizona State Credit Union. “We are proud to support food donation programs throughout the state, and appreciate all they do to provide for those in need.”

Donated funds will be distributed to various food bank locations throughout the state, and will support efforts to eradicate hunger in local communities.

“Thank you to Arizona State Credit Union for its generous donation to St. Mary’s,” St. Mary’s Food Bank president Beverly Damore said. “This donation will allow us to distribute enough food to provide more than 17,000 meals to the hungry of Arizona. This donation comes at a perfect time, with the long Arizona summer ahead of us. It will certainly be put to good use.”

Michael McDonald, Chief Executive Officer at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona says, “Summer can be a difficult time for families in need. Through their generous gift, Arizona State Credit Union is helping us put meals on tables at a time when they’re most needed. It’s an honor to have such a committed partner in the ongoing battle against hunger.”

For more information about how Arizona State Credit Union supports local communities, please visit us online at azstcu.org/about-us/community. For information on how you can become involved with local food bank programs, please visit firstfoodbank.org andcommunityfoodbank.org.


Washington Federal Promotes Hernandez to Assistant VP

Washington Federal announced Debbie Hernandez has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager. Hernandez has been with Washington Federal for more than 12 years.

In her position, Hernandez is responsible for increasing loan production and client base by growing the business checking and savings accounts and consumer checking and savings accounts. She is also responsible for increasing Washington Federal’s presence in the West Valley. Prior to joining Washington Federal, Hernandez was an insurance agent in Ohio.

“Debbie is a huge asset to our team here at Washington Federal,” said Trevor Bush, senior vice president and manager of Arizona retail banking division. “We are excited to see her continue to expand the presence and reach of Washington Federal.”

Hernandez earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in business from the Trumbull Business College in Warren, Ohio. She is also involved with the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is a volunteer for St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Hernandez is a Surprise resident.

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Progrexion Announces Phoenix Office, Hundreds of Jobs

Progrexion, the nation’s leading provider of services in the credit repair industry, today announced it is opening a new office in Phoenix, bringing hundreds of new jobs to the region.

“We are excited to enter such a dynamic and high-quality market like Phoenix to meet our growth demands. We acquired 30,000 square feet in North Phoenix for a sales call center and plan to add hundreds of hires initially, and then grow from there”, said Gene Abernethy, Senior Vice President – Human Resources for Progrexion, based in North Salt Lake, Utah.

“We are excited that Progrexion has chosen Phoenix as its new site,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “This is one example of how Phoenix is making a big comeback in the job market. Our competitive and dynamic workforce makes us a top choice for companies looking for new opportunities.”
Progrexion used Dallas-based global location advisory firm Site Selection Group, LLC to assist in its national site search to expand its credit repair telesales operations.

“We worked closely with Progrexion to filter through a large number of potential cities to determine which location had the best chance to provide high quality associates and community support to meet Progrexion’s growth needs. Phoenix was the clear choice,” stated Samuel J. Pruitt, Executive Vice President & Principal of Site Selection Group, LLC.

“Progrexion is the national market leader in its industry, and its new Phoenix operations will allow the company to access a high-quality workforce to propel its growth initiatives,” said Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sandra Watson. “Progrexion’s capital investment and expansion in Phoenix will bring hundreds of jobs to Arizonans while strengthening our state’s overall economy.”

Progrexion will host a job fair September 20 from 3-7 p.m. and September 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 20620 North 19th Avenue in Phoenix. They are looking for candidates to fill call center and sales agents positions. On Friday, burgers and live music will also be available. On Saturday, the job fair will feature a family carnival with a bounce house, petting zoo, face painting and prizes.

In addition, Progrexion intends to bring to the Phoenix area its robust corporate giving program, which was launched in Utah in 2012 and has already raised more than $100,000. During the job fair, Progrexion will collect food and cash contributions to benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank. For every 10 pounds of food or $10 in cash, attendees of the job fair will be entered into a drawing for many great prizes, including a flat-screen TV and a mountain bike.

“St. Mary’s Food Bank would like to welcome Progrexion to the valley and we look forward to working with a new partner in the fight against hunger,” St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance President and CEO Beverly Damore said. “Progrexion has been a hunger hero in their home state of Utah and were quick to reach out to the World’s First Food Bank upon their arrival in Arizona – where one in four children are affected by food insecurity. We look forward to this great new partnership.”

“Progrexion’s compassion for helping others succeed is a welcome addition to the Greater Phoenix region,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The region’s workforce and community strengths played a major role in their decision, and we’re proud to welcome them to Phoenix.”

“We look forward to being involved in the Phoenix community and establishing ourselves as a true employer of choice,” Abernethy said.

To find out about Progrexion’s career opportunities, visit http://www.progrexion.com/careers.


Direct Energy Opens Phoenix Area Call Center

Direct Energy today officially opened its Phoenix area call center in Tempe symbolizing the company’s dedication to grow long-term in the Phoenix community. As part of the grand opening festivities, Direct Energy announced that the company and its employees would commit to volunteering a minimum of 2,000 hours over the next year among several different area non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the St. Mary’s Food Bank.

“Direct Energy takes community investment and corporate social responsibility very seriously,” said Scott Boose, president, Direct Energy Services. “We are committed to making a difference in our customer’s lives and positive impacts in areas like Phoenix where we are part of the community employing hundreds of people with plans to grow even more.”
The community involvement initiative announcement was made at a press conference at Direct Energy’s new call center. During the press conference, Direct Energy also discussed its optimism that Arizona will open to retail electric competition, an industry where Direct Energy is the largest in North America. Recently, Direct Energy submitted a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CC&N) to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to serve retail electric customers in the state. The ultimate goal is to allow more consumers, specifically residential and small businesses, in Arizona to reap the full benefits of a competitive retail market structure, which may include cost savings.

“Across the United States in competitive retail electric markets, Direct Energy has offered choice and innovative time-of-use products to consumers that will save them money,” said Steven Murray, president, Direct Energy Residential. “Arizona should be no different and we look forward to working with the Arizona Corporation Commission Commissioners and other parties to continue the forward progress the state is making toward competition.”

Direct Energy employs more than 200 people in the Phoenix area with current plans to grow to as many as 500. The company’s call center in Tempe serves customers in both Direct Energy Services for their plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and electricians needs, and Direct Energy Residential for our retail electric customers.

“We are so pleased to celebrate this day with Direct Energy and its employees,” said Mayor Mark Mitchell. “Tempe is excited about adding 500 new jobs to our community, and we are appreciative of the volunteerism of the Direct Energy employees. That is a genuine and generous sign that they are here to stay.”

“Our new call center is a symbol of the important position Tempe and the Phoenix area has toward growing our customer base and business in North America,” said Matt George, Direct Energy’s call center director and senior executive in the Phoenix area. “I look forward to showing the community our new workplace and enhancing our visibility and influence here.”

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Scottsdale Realtors hand out awards

Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors (SAAR) announced their Annual Award recipients at their January 31st Membership Breakfast “Template for Arizona’s Future” which featured a panel of distinguished state leaders including Wellington “Duke “ Reiter, Sr. VP, ASU Foundation, Grady Gammage, Sr. Fellow, ASU Morrison Institute, Marisa Walker, Sr. VP Arizona Commerce Authority and Michael Ryan, Ryan Media.

Elaine Grill, of Re/Max Excalibur was named Realtor of the Year. Grill has been an active member of SAAR for the past twelve years.  Additionally, she has volunteered countless hours serving on the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) and also contributing as a member of the ARMLS Technology Committee.

Affiliate of the Year, Lonny Gibson, Alliance Financial Resources was honored for his contributions on SAAR’s Community Outreach and Awareness Committee and his leadership with the Lockbox for Seniors Program in conjunction with the Scottsdale Public Safety Department.

Citizen of the Year, Beverly Damore is President and CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank and was recognized for her commitment to community and her work on behalf of the hungry in Arizona.

The Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors would like to once again congratulate and thank Elaine Grill, Lonny Gibson and Beverly Damore for their dedication to the Association and Scottsdale Area Community.  Over two hundred business and community leaders attended the event at Chaparral Suites Resort in Scottsdale.


Experience Matters’ Inaugural Encore Fellowship Class Graduates

Experience Matters, an organization that connects baby boomers with nonprofit and social service organizations to improve the quality of life in Maricopa County, announces the graduation of the inaugural encore fellowship class.  The first class of encore fellows has completed their yearlong fellowship with their host nonprofit organizations. Encore fellowships represent a new life-stage in which experienced boomers find meaningful ways to engage in the community and bring skilled and professional resources to these organizations that are often under-resourced.  Nationwide, 31 million boomers indicate an interest in encore opportunities.  In Maricopa County there is significant demand on behalf of both boomers and nonprofit organizations for fellowship and hosting opportunities, respectively.

“My work this past year as an Experience Matters’ encore fellow hosted by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits could not have been more rewarding.  I learned more about the needs of nonprofit organizations and how they operate than I thought possible in just one year. It was quite rewarding to see how my 25 years of experience in the corporate world added value to a nonprofit organization.  I have a new-found respect for the Arizona nonprofit community and am committed to staying involved as I graduate from the Encore Fellowship Program,” stated Warren Mills, former valley technology executive.

“It is with great pride that we celebrate the graduation of our inaugural encore fellowship class at Experience Matters.  These fellows and organizations proved the value of matching boomers with nonprofit organizations.  What we have learned from the inaugural class indicates we can significantly increase the number of boomers engaged in paid and unpaid social service opportunities to support our nonprofit community as they work so hard to improve the quality of life in Maricopa County.  The demand is strong to connect the talent with the community, ” stated Nora Hannah, CEO of Experience Matters.

The inaugural class included the following fellows and their host organizations:

Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, Encore Fellow Mr. Warren Mills
Altered Tails, Encore Fellow Mr. Gregg Cebulski
Arizona Foundation for Women, Encore Fellow Ms. Debbie Hall
Arizona Science Center, Encore Fellow Mr. Kris Guffey
Balsz Elementary School District, Encore Fellow Ms. Anne White
Halle Family Foundation, Encore Fellow Ms. Denise Schubert
HALO, Encore Fellow Mr. Bill Thomson
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, Encore Fellow Ms. Isabel LeRoy
Mission of Mercy, Encore Fellow Ms. Dianne Aguilar
PetSmart Charities, Encore Fellow Ms. Linda Hannen
St. Mary’s Food Bank, Encore Fellow Ms. Christine McRight
Tempe Community Action, Encore Fellow Mr. Jeff Abraham
Valley of the Sun United Way, Encore Fellow Mr. Bob Ryan


Commercial Interior Design Firm Launches St. Mary's Food Drive

Tempe-based Creative License International, a commercial interior design firm, is launching its first annual can food drive for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance on Nov. 1.

The food drive initiated by CLI will run from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 during regular office business hours Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Non-perishable food items including canned food, tuna, beans, canned fruit and canned vegetables as well as cash donations will be accepted at the office location: 5025 S. Ash Ave., Tempe.

Each donor giving more than five canned food items will be entered into a weekly drawing for a gift certificate to a local hangout.

Weekly drawings will offer one certificate to one donor each Friday during the food drive campaign. Winner will be announced on the company’s Facebook page and contacted directly.

This holiday season, St. Mary’s has reported a critical demand for food, after peanut butter recalls forced the food bank to discard unused peanut butter and Congress’ postponement of the Farm Bill, food bank storage has been cited as 25-30% below necessity, though demand from families remains substantial.

“We hope to have a great response from our vendors and the local community, so together, we can help those in need this holiday season,” said Claudia Gerster, Principal of Creative License.

For questions about donations or about the food drive, please call Juanita Griffith, Studio Coordinator of Creative License International at (480) 777-3687.

Creative License International is an award-winning commercial interior design firm specializing in interior design for developments, homebuilders, restaurant and retail spaces.


Photo: Desert Ridge Marketplace

Desert Ridge Marketplace Events For November & December

Mark your calendars! Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix has many events planned for this holiday season:

Super Saturday Turkey Drive

When: Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Albertson’s at Desert Ridge Marketplace
What: Help St. Mary’s Food Bank provide thousands of families with a real holiday meal by donating a frozen turkey. Everyone who donates a frozen turkey can enter to win prizes from Desert Ridge Marketplace.

Holiday Ice Skating at Desert Ridge Marketplace

When: Black Friday Weekend: Friday through Sunday, November 23, 24 and 25; 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., FREE event
Where: Near AMC Theatre
What: Skip the Black Friday crowds and come enjoy some holiday family fun on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. near the AMC Theatre for some free holiday ice skating! The skates are free as well. All skaters must be at least 5 years old.

First Snow Fall with Radio Disney at Desert Ridge Marketplace

When: Monday, November, 19, 5 – 8 p.m., FREE event
Where: AMC Fountain at Desert Ridge Marketplace
What: Come watch Desert Ridge Marketplace transform into a winter wonderland at the First Snow Fall with Radio Disney. Bring the family out for fun and entertainment with Radio Disney’s Rockin’ Road Crew and enjoy four shows throughout the night. This will be a spectacular holiday experience unlike any other!

Salvation Army Angel Tree

When: Friday, November 23 – Saturday, December 22
Where: Dave & Buster’s at Desert Ridge Marketplace
What: The Christmas Angel Program provides new toys and clothing to children who otherwise would not have gifts to open during the holidays. The gifts contain tags with the name, age, clothing size, and toy requests of an underprivileged child. An annual program offered by the Salvation Army, Arizona’s Family 3TV and Mix 96.9, the Christmas Angel Program runs from Friday, November 23, through Saturday, December 23.

Snow What Fun Nightly Snowfalls at Desert Ridge Marketplace

When: November 19 – December 24, 7 p.m. & 8 p.m., FREE event
Where: AMC Fountains
What: It will snow each night between November 19 through December 24 (except for Thanksgiving) promptly at 7 & 8pm within The District at Desert Ridge Marketplace. Out of thin air, flakes of fluffy white show will float down from the sky, transforming the AMC Fountain and Fireplace into a snow globe.

United Blood Services Blood Drive

When: Monday, November 26, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Near Dave & Busters
What: Give a life-saving performance by donating blood Nov. 26, and you’ll receive a voucher for one complimentary ticket to a concert, courtesy of the Phoenix Symphony! But that’s not all; all November blood donors will be automatically entered into a raffle to win 50,000 Marriott Rewards Points, courtesy of the JW Marriott Desert Ridge. Use your points at more than 3,600 hotels in 70 countries or for great name-brand merchandise in the Marriott Reward Store. The Thanksgiving holiday period is one of the most difficult times of the year to meet patient blood needs, so find the hero in you. Give blood this holiday season. Potential donors must be in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 16 years old. Additional height/weight restrictions apply for donors ages 16–22. For donor eligibility questions, call (480) 675-5497. To schedule your preferred donation time, visit BloodHero.com.

Snow Day with 98.7 The Peak

When: Sat. Dec 8, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: Sandbar parking lot, off Tatum Blvd.
What: Whether you’re a kid or just want to feel like one for the day, grab your mittens and head over to Snow Day with The Peak in the Sandbar parking lot, located just off of Tatum Blvd. If you can’t make it to the snow for the holidays, we will bring it to you! With more than 35 tons of snow to play in, and holiday crafts, cookies and milk, Mrs. Claus and live music, there is something for everyone!

Story Time with PBS Channel 8

When: December 5, 12 & 19, 5 – 7 p.m.
Where: District Stage
What: Bring the kids out to get in the holiday spirit and enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies from California Pizza Kitchen, story-time readings of holiday classics, dancing and exercises by The Little Gym and special guest characters presented by PBS Channel 8. Remember to get here early to grab a seat! Catch Clifford the Big Red Dog on Wednesday, December 5 from 5-7 p.m., Arthur on Wednesday, December 12 from 5-7 p.m. and Curious George on Wednesday, December 19 from 5-7 p.m.

Desert Ridge Marketplace

21001 N. Tatum Blvd.,
Phoenix, AZ 85050
(480) 513-7586
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'Canstruction' 2012 Aims to Demolish Hunger

Competing teams of architectural, engineering and construction firms will both showcase their talents and feed the hungry when the CANstruction ® 2012 competition and judging takes place March 31 through April 7 at its new home, the Phoenix Convention Center’s West Building, 1003 N. 3rd St.

Now in its sixth year, the CANstruction competition will again benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and will be hosted by The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), Arizona chapter, under the auspices of the Society for Design Administration (SDA). The event has become one of the largest single-event donations for the Food Bank, with more than 56,000 cans used to construct incredibly imaginative designs last year, with all the non-perishable items used earmarked to help fill the more than 300,000 Emergency Food Boxes St. Mary’s distributes into the community annually.

The teams, which will include high school and college-aged design students working alongside some of the professional firms, have 12 hours to build their structures on the morning of Saturday, March 31 at the convention center. The completed structures will be on display for the public to see beginning March 31 and continuing through Friday April 6. During the exhibition, the public may cast their vote for the AIA Phoenix Metro People’s Choice Award and donate canned food to food drive boxes positioned around the exhibits.

Other awards will be given for Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, Structural Ingenuity and Jurors’ Favorite by a panel of judges. Winning teams will be publicly honored at an Awards & Networking Mixer on Tuesday, April 3. Winners from local competitions around the nation will compete in the national Canstruction competition through a slideshow photography submission.

“ CANstruction is a unique way to raise awareness and non-perishable items for the Food Bank,” said Terry Shannon, the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance President and CEO. “We are excited to be involved in the event for the sixth year and, as always, are very curious to see what kind of incredible structures will be created by these innovative minds.”