Our Community Service Committee kicked off 2014 strong with 40 volunteers coming out to St. Mary’s Food Bank on Saturday, January 18. As our host at the food bank said, they see us once a year but they greatly appreciate our volunteers because we bring a lot of energy, enthusiasm and passion to pack food boxes for the hungry.

I look forward to helping out St. Mary’s Food Bank every year. Although the orientation that precedes the activity is the same, what never fails to touch me are the statistics on how many people in our state don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Currently, 1 in 5 Arizonans, 1 in 4 children and 1 in 7 seniors live in poverty. Life is a huge wheel and in the blink of an eye, fortunes can change – one minute somebody who was blessed can have their lives turned upside down. My heart always goes out to hungry and homeless people that I see on the streets and I wish I could help them all. That is why volunteering at St Mary’s Food Bank gives me a feeling of fulfillment by providing food to those in need.

It was great to see all the volunteers focused, driven and committed to get the task done. It is an uplifting feeling to see everyone come together for a common purpose. Our team packed about 700 boxes in less than two hours which would provide about 15,400 meals to hungry children and adults. Driving home that afternoon, I passed by some people with signs that they were homeless, jobless and hungry and I could only hope that some of those boxes I helped pack would find their way to them to show them that people do care. I hope we don’t wait another year to lend a hand to such a worthy cause. Let’s get back to St Mary’s Food Bank with a bigger crew and tons of energy, enthusiasm and passion, and let’s help get food to more needy people this year!

– Hannellie Mendoza