Keeping Cool: Thunderbird Charities and Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation Grants Give United Food Bank Clients Access to Fresh Food

SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 · PUBLIC
Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of the Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open presented by Ak-Chin Indian Community has awarded United Food Bank (UFB) a $60,000 grant to expand its refrigerated cooler.  A matching grant from the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation has been secured to upgrade the existing refrigeration system to improve food safety and increase capacity. These vital steps will allow UFB to distribute additional fresh food offerings such as fruits, vegetables, milk, dairy and protein to our agencies who help feed hungry people in our five-county service areas who don’t have enough food.
“As we work to address hunger in our region, we’re mindful of both the quantity and the nutritional quality of the foods we offer our partner agencies,” notes Dave Richins, United Food Bank President and CEO. “Our capacity for serving hungry people more nutritious food options will be greatly increased due to the generosity of the Halle Foundation and Thunderbirds charities. We cannot thank them enough for their support and generosity.”
“We are excited to be able to help with the expansion and upgrade of the refrigerated cooler system at United Food Bank,” said Andy Markham, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “We’re extremely proud of this partnership with Halle Foundation. The value and benefits this project brings to the community is so impactful.”
About United Food Bank (UFB)
United Food Bank is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides hunger relief by collecting, acquiring, storing and distributing food and related commodities through a network of more than 200 partner social service agencies in eastern Maricopa County, Gila and Pinal Counties, and southern Apache and Navajo Counties.  Last year, UFB distributed 27.7 million pounds of food to hungry Arizonans. For more information, visit www.unitedfoodbank.org. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Thunderbirds/Thunderbirds Charities
Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament. The Thunderbirds Charities Board consists of 15 board members from varying professional backgrounds. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in our communities. The organization’s giving is directed toward organizations based or with a significant presence in Arizona. The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. The Thunderbirds consist of 55 “active” members and more than 250 “life” members. For more information on the Thunderbirds or the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open, visit www.wmphoenixopen.com. For more information on Thunderbirds Charities, visit www.thunderbirdscharities.org.
About Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation
The Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation is a collaborative charitable resource that embraces the entrepreneurial spirit in like-minded philanthropists and non-profits to propel real social change.

It’s My Turn – Hunger Action Month

Imagine this: It’s Tuesday. You get paid on Friday. You are out of money from an unanticipated car repair. You are out of food and have some hungry mouths to feed. What do you do?

September is Hunger Action Month. It is a month to reflect on the abundance enjoyed in this great country and remember those who don’t always have access to it. Food banks around the country work every day to shrink Tuesday into Wednesday and Wednesday into Thursday, helping make each paycheck stretch all the way to Friday.

The United Food Bank recently experienced one of those unanticipated expenses. Our freezer broke, and we lost food that could have gone to feed hungry people. Despite our physical check on Saturday and our alarm system, the failure wasn’t caught until Monday morning. With a sense of dread, I read a text from Benito, our Director of Operations, “Are you awake, we need to talk!” Our great team quickly put together a plan, salvaged and distributed as much food as possible, and began work to “fix the freezer.”

The generosity of the community was overwhelming. When Sen. John McCain tweeted about our need, an hour later our website crashed from all the donor traffic. We received donations from all over the country and as far away as Greece. I felt like Jimmy Stewart at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The outpouring of concern and help were humbling.

Our freezer is fixed. It’s almost full again. We are developing additional systems to help prevent another catastrophe. We cannot express adequate appreciation to our community and all those who supported us, but we thank you. We appreciate the support. Even with the best laid plans, unanticipated accidents happen, so is the journey of many in our community.

Together, we can turn Tuesday into Friday. Feeding people is simply not enough. We must teach, train and mentor those who struggle. We must build resumes, attain better educational levels, and have stable, affordable housing. Hunger Action isn’t just about food. It’s about breaking the cycle of poverty. We can’t continue to measure success through the number of pounds we distribute or the number of people we feed. It’s time to step back and look at the big picture then work ourselves out of a job. As our clientele achieves a measure of self-sufficiency, fewer and fewer people will need the food bank. That’s ok. In partnership with our agencies, will teach them to fish. Just handing out fish is no longer enough.

Remember, September is Hunger Action Month, a month when we stand together and speak with one voice. It’s a month to spread the word about the hunger crisis in our community and dedicate ourselves to a solution. It takes more than food to fight hunger. It takes an entire community of support. Let’s do this and help fight hunger together.

During September, take action to help your neighbors in need by holding a food drive for the United Food Bank at your school, church or workplace. Every food donation received by United Food Bank adds up and makes a difference.

Looking for a service project? Have your group hold a fundraiser to alleviate hunger. If you know of someone facing a financial crisis, surprise them with some groceries. Also, let them know they can go to www.unitedfoodbank.org to find the nearest food pantry where they can turn for additional support. Consider another option: simply give a donation today at https://unitedfoodbank.org/wc/donation/. Our mission is to feed hungry people, and we’ve been doing it since 1983.

Dave Richins is President and CEO of United Food Bank and resides in Mesa. He can be contacted at drichins@unitedfoodbank.org.

Talking Food Insecurity on the Phoenix File with Radio Phoenix

Listen to United Food Bank’s Chief Impact Officer Kelli Shepard, the Association of Arizona Food Bank’s CEO Angie Rodgers and St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance CEO Tom Kertis as they talk about how great the impact of food insecurity is across Arizona.

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"You have helped my family not go hungry while we are going through a hard time. Thanks."
— Glenn and family.