Archive for the metro phoenix Category

why don’t more schools do this?

Posted in child hunger & nutrition, food, metro phoenix with tags , , , on October 23, 2009 by foodbankguy

I was really excited when friend and AAFB board member David Schwake sent me this article on his unique way of keeping kids fed at his elementary school.  David is the Food Service Director for the Litchfield Elementary School District in Litchfield Park, a suburb west of Phoenix.  The district serves a large portion of households at or near poverty (defined in 2009 as a family of four living on $22,050… ouch) and David has seen the negative impacts of hunger at his school:  attendance problems, discipline issues, trouble concentrating, apathy toward learning, and so on.   Something needed to be done, and a few years ago, David jumped into action.

I’ll let the article speak for itself–go ahead, read it now!–but damn if this isn’t an inexpensive, worthy idea that is generating positive results.  I’ve also been fortunate to be David’s guest at the school, allowing me a first-hand view of all the activity, how the program works, and how the kids really respond to it… and respond they do!  It’s downright encouraging to see a bunch of 5th graders so eager to work together on a school activity.  You can’t help but realize they’re learning skills that will take them far in life, hands-on stuff, skills that a textbook–or I guess PC nowadays–just can’t convey in this way.

Amazingly, David tells me he’s done countless presentations, tours, demonstrations, you name it, to other principals, superintendents and school administrators, and while everyone seems impressed, very few have taken the next step to actually implement their own program, even though David has offered to help every step of the way.  Why isn’t every school in Arizona doing this?  There’s not even the excuse of there being no money in the budget.  If you’re wondering the same thing and interested in possibly doing something like this at the school you work at, or the school your children attend, feel free to drop me a line.


fun in the sun & breaking budget movement

Posted in budget, food drives, fun, metro phoenix with tags , , , on July 29, 2009 by foodbankguy

First, the fun: the Back-to-School Clothing Drive at the Goodyear Swap Meet was this past Saturday, and while it was hot outside, participation was tremendous.  It was estimated that twice as much clothing was swapped this year compared to last, and fortunately there was an abundance of volunteers to sort the clothes.  Yours truly was there to help accept and transport food donations.  Bright and early Monday morning, I dropped off 200lbs of food to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

Beyond the food though, it was great to see a community come together to support one another.  As you may know, the far westside of metro Phoenix, including Goodyear, has just been decimated by foreclosures and the poor economy.  This event was a great showing by those who are sticking it out and making it work, and it was very gratifying to see the community come together.  I also want to give a shout out to Jennifer, the Arizona Grocery Guru, who was very nice and proved popular with the locals.

Minor irritation: while I was out there, KPHO, the local CBS affiliate, was out there covering the event, which I presume aired on their evening news.  I tried to find a link on their website for you to check out, but damn if their website just sucks.  You can’t find specific videos if someone put a gun to your head.  With no ‘Videos’ menu choice, I had to use their search function, typing in “goodyear swap meet”… the seven results I got included amongst other things: Andy Rooney on Walter Kronkite, a video of a bird hitting an airplane, and something on Major League Soccer.  WTF?  Come on KPHO, you need to try harder here.  You’d think they’d want the extra hits, pageviews and videos played.

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Regarding Arizona’s budget, there appears to be some quick movement, with a possible vote coming as soon as tomorrow… this is probably not good news.  Looks like Brewer’s tax increase will be put to the ballot, but only because a bunch of other tax cuts aimed at big business and the wealthy will also be included.  Emerging details here and here.  Be sure to have your popcorn and/or tissues handy…

unexpected generosity is cool

Posted in aafb, food drives, fun, metro phoenix, people on May 27, 2009 by foodbankguy

This past Saturday I found myself with a table at the Goodyear Swap Meet, ready to talk to passerbys about food banks and hunger issues, as part of their Service to the Community festivities.  Since it was Memorial Day weekend, they invited non-profits of all stripes out to engage the community with volunteer opportunities, learning opportunities, fundraising communities, and more.  While a bit warm, the weather was nice and a decent crowd turned out to see a parade of motorcycle veterans and a surprisingly good live rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

I’m a bit of a swap meet buff and yard sale buff; what can I say, getting a smokin’ deal and instant gratification beats eBay any day of the week.  Once I scored one of these for $25 which brought me much joy, but I digress.  This time around, after enjoying a gigantic coffee flavored ice cream cone for only $2, I was greeted by Kathy, who put together the event for the Swap Meet.  She had collected five frozen hams, 90lbs of canned goods and an envelope of cash for our cause, all of which were completely unexpected.  Turns out she had done a little preplanning to collect all this for us, and what an awesome surprise it turned out to be.  Big props to Kathy and the kind folks at the Goodyear Swap Meet!

food bank guy in action (not at a swap meet, but this is the best he's got and you get the idea, so deal with it!)

food bank guy in action (not at a swap meet, but this is the best he's got and you get the idea, so deal with it... and yes I'm aware I'm talking about myself in the third person...)


 Now, have you ever tried to fit five hams in a standard size refrigerator freezer before?  I’d like to hear your story!  Thanks to years honing my Tetris skillz, I got ’em in there safe and sound until I could deliver them to St. Mary’s on Monday morning.  In all, 40lbs of ham will help out tremendously, as food banks are always looking for protein sources, since they are oftentimes hard to come by as they are usually perishable, expensive or both. 

An aside:  Have you ever seen the USS Phoenix submarine veteran’s display, complete with at least a 15 foot scale replica on its own dedicated tow trailer?  They were also at the swap meet, about three booths down from me.  Unfortunately, it would appear these gentlemen do not have  a website, although you can catch a glimse of it here.  It literally is mounted to its own tow trailer.  While impressive, more amusing was the PA system they have hooked up to it where they played on a continuous repeat a CD of submarine songs, sung by a guy who sounded like a cross between Johnny Cash and Elvis.  Songs about the captain, songs about being lonely on a submarine, songs about having torpedos fired at you, I’m telling you this CD had it all and we must have heard it 6 times in a row!  Not to mock, but perhaps because of the veterans’ ages, they had their PA blasting under our covered area, cranked to 11.  Right next to them, all of 2 feet away, were some ladies from a private Christian school who were none too pleased… good stuff!

keepin’ busy

Posted in aafb, budget, food banks, food drives, fun, metro phoenix on May 11, 2009 by foodbankguy

I’ve been keeping real busy lately, so updates are sadly lacking.  Hopefully you’ve found a way to make it through your day(s) without me… check out my bad food bank guy post; it could serve instructive right about now…

Recap:  The Taste of the Nation event was very successful on Saturday, May 2.  Record crowd, beautiful weather and an all-around good time at Market Street in DC Ranch.  The Association of Arizona Food Banks and St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance both benefitted from the event, so a very special thanks to anyone and everyone who made it out that evening.  We’ll see you again next year!

Recap: Last Saturday, May 9 was the Stamp Out Hunger event, which I assume went well from the various news stories I’ve seen thus far.  Unfortunately for me, sleeping in combined with super-uncharacteristically early arrival by my mail carrier prevented me from participating in my fullest glory.  Ooops!  In any event, Mrs. Food Bank Guy made sure our donation made it to our local food bank anyway. 

cool artistic food carvings = brand recognition

cool artistic food carvings = brand recognition

Heads-up:  The annual Wells Fargo Bank food drive is June 1-14.  You can simply drop off your non-perishable food donation at any Wells Fargo branch anywhere in Arizona to participate.  They are a bunch of pretty cool folks to care about hunger and their local communities on a such a large scale.

Heads-up:  Paying attention to Arizona’s budget crisis and the potential consequences of massive budget cuts?  PerhapsYouShould.  Learn more and get involved if you are so inclined here.

That’s it, peace out, Dodgers win, we’ll see you next time.

just checkin’ in…

Posted in food, fun, metro phoenix on April 30, 2009 by foodbankguy

Hi kids!

Just checking in with this week’s non-swine-flu-related-stuff…

Got a hot date this Saturday, and haven’t figured out where to go? Check out Taste of the Nation AZ at DC Ranch in Scottsdale to sample food from some of the Valley’s greatest chefs, drink fun drinks, take in live entertainment, and generally have a good time for a great cause. Get your tickets online today, and use the code TKSM for 40% off general admission tickets. As an added bonus, I’ll be there and I’ll even shake your hand, if you can figure out which generic looking thirty-something white guy I am…

If you’re looking to check out something else entirely, check out my friend Kelli’s African Kelli blog.  Maybe you’ve already heard of her.  Her blog runs circles around mine.  Besides being a pretty crafty chica and all-around big heart, she is spearheading a really cool community garden project at the Asbury United Methodist Church in central Phoenix, on Indian School at 16th Avenue.  The church has graciously donated plots of land which is being split up between refugee families, who will plant and work their lots to produce extra food and maybe even income.  They only use organic techniques, meaning they will grow things suitable for our climate here and no performance enhancing drugs or pesticides will be used.  Any family caught doping their plot will receive a 50 game suspension from the league

Asbury Community Garden photos, at the very beginning stages:

plots are outlined

plots are outlined

baby citrus trees are planted

baby citrus trees are planted

If you’d like to help out with this project, there are all kinds of opportunities… contact Kelli through her blog, linked above.

fun & games

Posted in aafb, food, fun, metro phoenix on April 24, 2009 by foodbankguy

Short takes…

Fan of Panda Express?  Bring this flyer with you on Sunday, April 26 only and they will donate 20% of your bill to The Changing Face of Poverty campaign.

Looking for something to do on Saturday, May 2?  You need to come out to Taste of the Nation AZ!  Join AAFB and many of the Phoenix area’s finest chefs for a delicious evening of epicurean adventure! Taste of the Nation AZ features tastings of great food paired with excellent wine, an expansive silent auction and live entertainment. Proceeds benefit AAFB and St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

That’s Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at Market Street at DC Ranch in Scottsdale.  Purchase tickets here and support AAFB!  Use the code TKSM to receive a 40% discount when ordering General Admission tickets. 

Courtesy of Feeding America, test your Food IQ and help families in need!  Take the Fun Food Facts Quiz, and for every correct answer, a group of generous friends will donate four pounds of food for people in need. The more right answers, the more families you can help!  It’s fun, free, and you can help families in need just by playing!