Providing Hunger Relief in Arizona Since 1967 as the First Food Bank in the World

Pioneering the Fight Against Hunger.

Impacting Our Community  

St. Mary’s Food Bank provides nutritious food to families, children, and seniors struggling to feed themselves and their families. Each year, we distribute food to millions of neighbors throughout Arizona. Our efficient operations and purchasing power allow us to turn $1 donated into 5 meals. 

We provide food, at NO COST, to hundreds of partner agencies, who, in turn, give food to people in need. Our agency partners are food pantries, homeless shelters, meal centers, domestic violence shelters, afterschool programs for at-risk children, low-income senior living centers, etc. By donating to St. Mary’s, you are supporting hundreds of local nonprofit organizations and helping millions of people each year. 

This all started right here at the World’s First Food Bank.

In 1967, John van Hengel was volunteering at a local soup kitchen, serving dinner to those in need when a young mother told him that she depended on soup kitchens and food from grocery store dumpsters to feed her children. Van Hengel’s heart was broken. His conversation with the young woman ignited a desire to help hungry families like hers, so he came up with the idea of a “Food Bank,” where individuals and companies with excess food could “deposit” it, and those in need could “withdraw” it.

His local parish, St. Mary’s Basilica in downtown Phoenix, gave him $3,000 and an abandoned building where he was able to turn his dream into reality. In gratitude, he named it “St. Mary’s Food Bank.” He then went on to become the founder of several other food banks across the country and even founded the national organization America’s Second Harvest (known today as Feeding America). Years later, van Hengel also founded the Global Food Banking Network. John van Hengel is rightly referred to as “the father of food banking” and it all started right here at St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, Arizona.

Today, St. Mary’s Food Bank is one of the largest food banks in the world, and is proud to be a Four Star charity with Charity Navigator and one of Americas Top 100 Charities by Forbes. St. Mary’s is also the Largest Phoenix-Area Nonprofit Organization for Service Assistance by Phoenix Business Journal.

Making an Impact, One Neighbor at a Time

Our Mission

Bridging the gap for Arizona communities with nourishment for today and hope for tomorrow.

Nourishing Hope Across Arizona's Communities

Meals Each Day
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Notes from Neighbors We've Helped

Senior Leadership

At St. Mary’s Food Bank, we’re not just employees; we’re crusaders against hunger in Arizona. Every team member wears their passion on their sleeve, deeply rooted in the belief that everyone deserves a nourishing meal. Dive in and discover the heartbeat behind our mission.

Senior Leadership

Guiding Our Mission: The Board of Directors


Past Chair

Vice Chair & Secretary


Jacalyn Askin

Cheryl Ruggiero

Mike Donahey, P.C

Amiel Sawdaye

Will Feliz

Scott Sibigtroth

Rona Guymon

Monica Villalobos

Milt Liu

Laura Worzella

Lisa Phelps

John Roussel

Transparency in Giving

Explore how your contributions make a difference by exploring St. Mary’s financial reports.

Transparency in Giving