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

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 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 For more information on Thunderbirds Charities, visit
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.

Grapefruit, oranges and lemons, oh my!

grapefruitIt’s citrus season and this year the fruit we have received has been amazing! As an Agency, you may accept citrus for distribution at your sites directly from the community that grows it.

As the season winds down, citrus will no longer come through United Food Bank’s warehouse and small donations are fresher when provided directly to the Agency for distribution. There is no longer a county quarantine on citrus–which will now allow you to accept from any location inside Arizona.

Here is our information sheet that will help with any questions you may have in regards to donated citrus. You may refuse citrus that you feel does not meet these guidelines. Thank you for helping provide fresh grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, and lemons to your community!

President’s Day Holiday!

Presidentsday    Already?  February is going fast!

This Monday, February 20th, UFB will be closed for the holiday. This means no store pick ups, agency deliveries or agency pick ups on that day by United Food Bank.  If you are an enabled agency and also closed, please remind your stores as well!

Help Yourself – Every Friday!

Especially for those agencies that serve in Mesa, Tempe or Gilbert – did you know that UFB operates every Friday a Help Yourself Co-Op program where meat, produce and dry goods can be purchased for $20.00?   Let your pantry visitors know of this unique service for them!

January 27th’s Menu $20 package includes:

  • Produce 8.5lbs (or more) – Bananas, golden apples, carrots and onions
  • Meat  – Ground beef 1 lb pack, Whole Fryer Chicken, 1lb pack Bologna, and 1lb pack of Hot dogs PLUS
    ground turkey OR ground beef OR bacon (all 1lb packs).
  • Dry Goods: Spaghetti pasta, spaghetti sauce, mixed fruit and canned tuna

You can also purchase extra meat bags for $13.00.

Help Yourself clients can also make selections from a variety of complimentary items like breads and pastries, dairy and deli products.  This week’s walk through items are bell peppers, bread, tomatoes, egg plant, salad mix and potatoes.

The program offers a great opportunity for anyone who’d like to make the most of their food budgets; weekly or monthly. There are no qualifying requirements or limits and is open to the public.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 12 noon at our Javelina Volunteer Annex  at 358 East Javelina, Mesa, AZ.


Musings at the end of week 3…

As someone new to food banking, the past three weeks have been a wonderful immersion for me into a world that our Partner Agencies so amazingly navigate every day!

In a short amount of time, I have had the privilege to see the work at East Valley Resource Center handing out fresh produce (just HOW do you cook an acorn squash?) to the smiles at the Help Yourself Co-Op on Fridays. I have witnessed the talented UFB drivers who move pallet after pallet of food in and out of small spaces and even in a heavy downpour of rain!

From Feeding America, and UFB staff, I am absorbing the processes and requirements so I can help make it easy for new agencies and help streamline the paperwork that you do. Building a more robust Agency Resources website with the resources you need is part of that goal.

I, like you, see numbers that tug at your heart: 20% of the state is living in poverty….1 in 4 of our children struggling with hunger.  Then I see numbers like 26 million pounds of food distributed last year – by YOU – our amazing partners.

I am so excited to have joined this team. If you have questions, I am to here to find the answers for you. Thank you for all that you do!

Pieces of the Puzzle?

2017 Agency Relations Conference

2017 Agency Relations Conference

Today we hosted our annual conference in Mesa with a theme about Puzzle pieces and how foodbanking works in Arizona. Since this was only my 8th day with United Food Bank, it was a great opportunity to meet many of the caring people behind our Agency partners and soak in all the food banking process, forms and information.

We had great questions and energy from over 40 different agencies who attended and we look forward to hosting this conference in Show Low on February 1st.

"Where" our partners are located across AZ.

“Where” our partners are located across AZ.

At the heart of our work (and your passion) is feeding our community.  Your planning, reports and communication are what feeds the funding/delivery processes that make food available.  We’re here to put those pieces together and hopefully solve a few puzzles for you as you care for our community.

I’ll post conference materials and presentations under the Agency Resources section.  If you have forgotten (or need?) the password to Agency Resources, please email me!


A new name…!

Hello!  I’m Diane Gardner, your new Director of Agency Relations and Program Services.  Along with Deb and Twanna, we are here to listen, offer assistance and share tips along the way when possible. I am so excited to join the amazing team at United Food Bank.

My background is in technology, so you “may” see me trying to ensure information is online, easy to find and use  – or seeking ways to automate where possible! But that doesn’t replace the phone call, email or site visit where I can get to know you, your agency and needs. Feel free to email or call 480-398-4480.  Looking forward to partnering with you!

Save the Date – United Food Bank’s Annual Partner Agency Conference – Friday, Jan 13th

United Food Bank’s Annual Partner Agency Conference has been scheduled for Friday, Jan 13th in Mesa.  We’re still hammering out the agenda and lining up speakers, but I wanted to get the date out to you today.

I’m also happy to announce we’re going to host a second conference in Show Low for our partner agencies in the northern counties.  Location and date are being discussed, but it will most likely occur in January.  I’ll keep you posted as plans are made.

A few changes for this year’s event:

  • We’re going to shorten the day, and tentatively planning on a 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM timeframe.  Lunch included!
  • As mentioned above, we’re offering a second conference in the north


Location for Mesa conference:

Grace United Methodist Church

2024 E. University Street

Mesa, AZ 85213

save the date

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