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Home / 2017 Leaders of the Year / St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

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Mention hunger and you’re bound to learn about St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, whose name is practically synonymous with charitable giving and volunteerism. Founded by John van Hengel in 1967, St. Mary’s has a global reputation with a village approach to addressing needs. It truly relies on the help of the entire village – its thousands of food donors, financial contributors and volunteers – to accomplish its rallying cry to end hunger in Arizona. The organization distributes food to 300 agencies, including local food banks, domestic violence shelters, and groups serving military veterans and seniors. In an interview earlier this year, St. Mary’s President and CEO Tom Kertis recalled how, less than two weeks into the job, he received an email from a man, pleading for food his family. St. Mary’s found a way to deliver food within 24 hours, and the experience showed him how profound the needs are and the important role that St. Mary’s plays as a safety net. “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. His situation brings reality to what we’re doing here,” Kertis said.

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