Phoenix-headquartered U-Haul partners with St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance to help provide food for Arizona families in need. In Arizona, nearly one in three children grow up in poverty and many children do not have access to healthy food, according to St. Mary’s.
Due to donations and volunteer efforts, St. Mary’s administers 250,000 meals across Arizona every day. U-Haul Team Members volunteer their time to assist in the packing of their emergency food boxes.
“It’s important to volunteer because there is value in sharing and doing life together,” said Viet Pham, U-Haul staff artist. “(U-Haul) gives us opportunities to impact communities both near and far.”
There are several volunteer needs at St. Mary’s, from packing emergency food boxes for homeless families to stocking shelves. Non-perishable food items, varying from cereal to pinto beans and juice, fill the boxes. On a recent Saturday afternoon, Team U-Haul met at the St. Mary’s Del Webb warehouse in Phoenix to help tackle these needs.
“We have a new production room,” said Sean Vahldiek, volunteer engagement specialist at St. Mary’s. “Not only can this new area hold 120-plus people, it also improves the safety factor for all of our volunteers. By keeping them away from forklifts driving on our warehouse floor, it minimizes the risk of injury.”
Among the 100 volunteers present, Team U-Haul was the easiest to spot due to its bright orange volunteer shirts.
An assembly line formed to build the boxes. Each volunteer put food items in boxes and passed them along until the boxes were taped and put on a pallet for distribution.
“The brand new production area has a new sound system to keep our volunteers happy and moving along with the music,” Vahldiek added.
936 EFBs Equals 14,040 Pounds of Food
In two short hours, 936 emergency food boxes, or EFBs, were packed by U-Haul Team Members. That equates to about 14,040 pounds of food. Every box will be distributed to the homeless population in Greater Phoenix.
“My favorite part about volunteering at St. Mary’s is seeing people from all walks of life working for a greater cause,” Pham said. “Volunteers, both inside and outside of U-Haul, came together to help those in need. It’s awesome to work for a Company that cares about the city and offers the chance for Team Members to give back.”
In March, U-Haul is teaming with Habitat for Humanity to help build a home for a local family. The tasks will vary from painting walls to nailing frame, all in the name of charitable giving.
Finally, thanks to Team Members who volunteered: Kelie Budd-Hale, Karyn Duett, Allyson Hale, Silvia Hernandez, Thursha Maragh, Kat Miles, Courtney Neyra, Viet Pham, Latasha Ross, Hilda Shockey, Cece Wagner, Jason Wagner and Liz Welch.
Read about a recent Habitat for Humanity volunteer day at myuhaulstory.com.