Midwest Food Bank is making a big impact in Arizona. Since coming to Arizona in March of 2017, Midwest Food Bank has been supplying food to local food pantries throughout our state. In 2018, the food bank distributed over 5.3 million pounds of food to help Arizonans in need.
Midwest Food Bank had its start in 2003 when three farmer brothers heard that food pantries in Illinois were having trouble keeping enough food on the shelves. The brothers felt that was something that they could help with, so they opened the Midwest Food Bank in a utility shed on their farm. In 2005, the brothers took their pledge to help abroad and were there for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. What started out as one semi-load of food, almost everything MFB had on hand, ended up being 167 loads by the end of the recovery efforts. It was then that disaster recovery was added to the Midwest Food Bank mission. Most recently the MFB Arizona division sent semi-loads of supplies to the victims of the California wildfires.
Midwest Food Bank is a distribution level food bank. That means it is designed to receive large quantities of food and bulk packaged food that smaller food pantries would have to decline. Executive Director, Patrick Hodgkins, says, “We have an army of volunteers that transport, package, label, and reconfigure food so we are able to give it to our local partners and get it to the ones that need it.” Anything MFB receives is donated to their partners free of charge. All MFB partners are required to commit to never sell, barter, or trade the food they receive from MFB. According to Q. Nielsen, Operations Manager, “Even when we have to buy food to meet the need, we will not charge for it. That is just not our way.”
Because of their donation model, MFB is always looking for partners to support their efforts with donations of food or finances. MFB is a top-rated charity with Charity Navigators having received 4 stars for 7 consecutive years. While all donations are appreciated, Midwest Food Bank is focused currently on the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. This credit allows Arizonians to donate to MFB and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit. Hodgkins also tells us that a generous donor has provided thank you gifts for Tax Credit donors, “If you donate on our website, www.mwfbTaxCredit.com, and type ‘NEWSPAPER’ in the memo line we will send you a thank you polo shirt. One per full single donation and two for a full married donation.” Eric Sheldahl, Chairman of the Board, states emphatically, “We are good stewards of your donations! 99 percent of all donations go straight into the food program. We are able to turn a $1 donation into $25 of food.”
Two years in Arizona is just the start. MFB is now an Arizona fixture serving 285 pantries, with remote distributions in Tucson and on the reservations. Says Hodgkins, “We will continue to grow and look for ways to partner with others in Arizona to battle hunger!”
To donate, Visit: www.mwfbTaxCredit.com