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Lines for food boxes in Phoenix double in size over last year

On Friday of last week, more than 1,100 clients came through the lines at St. Mary's Food Bank.

PHOENIX — At St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix, there's double the need and constant lines of cars waiting for food boxes every day. This is happening as inflation is making it almost impossible for more Arizonans to make ends meet.

This time last year, St. Mary’s Food Bank said they were serving about 600 to 650 families per day. In the last year, that number has nearly doubled. On Friday of last week, more than 1,100 clients came through the lines, Jerry Brown, a St. Mary's Food Bank spokesperson said. That made for a record-breaking day of Arizonans coming for food boxes.

Destiny is one of the hundreds of people who waited in line this week. She said programs like St. Mary’s has keep food on her table at home when she can’t afford it on her own.

“it’s been really hard, it's a struggle," Destiny said. "The price of things. I get food stamps. But it barely gets me like two and a half weeks in and then I’m out."

Brown added, many of the people waiting are first time clients.

“Donated food from stores and from other companies, that’s gone down a lot," Brown said. "So we’re buying a lot more food than we were this time last year and that food costs a lot more than it did last year. So for people have been to the grocery store, we’re paying those same markups.”

Brown said this time last year there were also a lot of government programs because of COVID, which helped pay for food. Those have since run out.

On top of filling the daily need for food boxes, St. Mary's is also ramping up their turkey donations. Their goal is to give 18,000 turkeys to Arizona families in need this holiday season. A $20 donation puts a turkey on the table for one Valley family. St. Mary's can also use volunteers. 

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