Loads of community support get Maricopa Pantry back on its feet

Banner Health donates $30,000 to Maricopa Pantry
Dr. Dawn Sorenson, a pediatric specialist at Banner Health's Maricopa facility (left), and Jim Shoaf, CEO of Maricopa Pantry, share a laugh at an event at which Banner presented Shoaf with a check for $30,000 to help rebuild the Maricopa Pantry facility destroyed by fire. {Bryan Mordt]

The Maricopa Pantry food bank is back.

Thanks to a great deal of community support, the help of St. Mary’s Food Bank from Phoenix and donations from around the state, CEO Jim Shoaf said the charitable entity is back to serving the community.

“We are up and running,” Shoaf said last week. “We did a full food bank (April 22) for 1,200 families. St. Mary’s donated three trailers and told us we’re good to keep using them until we get back up and running in our own facility. I’m looking at contractors to build a building here, and I’m starting to put this thing back together. I’m a little bit tenacious.”

Shoaf said his group’s efforts were enhanced by a donation Friday from Maricopa’s Banner Health Center. Banner provided a donation of $30,000, with $25,000 from the Banner Medical Group and $5,000 from the employees of Banner Casa Grande Medical Center through its Better Together Campaign. That campaign gives Banner team members the opportunity to contribute to causes in the community important to them.

David Lozano, associate director of public relations and marketing for Banner Health, said it was an obvious choice for a contribution.

“We’ve been in that area for a decade now, the Banner Health clinic opened in 2011,” Lozano said. “It’s obviously a very important cause in the community because our doctors and health care providers are part of that community. It’s a situation that was very important to the community because the pantry provides a very important service by providing meals and food to families and individuals. That fire occurred and damaged those storage units, and our employees wanted to do something to help.”

Shoaf said that sort of kindness has been instrumental in getting the pantry back on its feet.

“With all the rallying in the community and around the state, we’re so grateful for all the support we’re getting,” Shoaf said last week. “We’ve been on every news station and newspaper in the state, and people have really come out to support us.”

He added the primary goal is for Maricopa Pantry to be back up and running in its own facility as soon as possible.

“I’m hoping in the next month or so we’ll start the process of pulling permits and doing the dirt work here at the site,” Shoaf said. “We have to get the septic dug, run power lines, a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff before we start building. We hope to have the building started by July or August.”

Shoaf also said help his group has received from St. Mary’s has been invaluable.

“We probably would not be up and running without them,” he said. “They loaned me three trailers to get us back up and running, I had been looking around and couldn’t get trailers this nice for less than $50,000 apiece. We couldn’t have put this together without them. It’s incredible that we’ve got it up and running this fast.

“St. Mary’s is a total blessing. There’s no way we could have done this in two weeks without them.”