GCU News Bureau
The work of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance never stops. But fortunately for SMFBA, a lot of people in the Valley don’t stop, either.
“Whenever we have a need and we put a call to action out there in the community saying, ‘We need you to come in and volunteer to help,’ people come running,” said Genevieve Villegas, SMFBA’s Corporate Giving Officer.
That certainly was the case this year with Grand Canyon University’s Give With Purpose employee fundraising campaign to benefit SMFBA.
A record-setting check for $15,120 – ballooned by GCU and Pono Construction matching the amount donated by employees – was presented to Villegas and Food Bank Coordinator Krystin Bridges during the men’s basketball game Saturday night at GCU Arena.
Villegas estimated that the gift is in the top 10 percent of monetary contributions the Food Bank will receive this year and most definitely will make a difference.
“This money is going to directly impact our community because we’re going to be able to purchase food to go into emergency food boxes, to help with our backpack programs, to help with our after-school meals,” she said. “It’s going to affect the very young to the very old.”
The fact that donations were, in effect, tripled also helped pump up employee enthusiasm, said Debbie Accomazzo, GCU’s Community Outreach Manager.
And the money will help year-round, which is equally important. It’s not as if food insecurity is limited to the school year.
“You’d think it slows down maybe in the summer, but it doesn’t,” Bridges said. “We’re even busier then because the kids are out of school and we’re helping to feed those families that normally would get a free or reduced-price lunch.”
Employees who donated were entered into a raffle. The winners:
- Courtside seat package at a GCU men’s basketball game: Luke Eyrise, Senior University Counseling Manager
- Behind-the-scenes tour of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and lunch for six at the CK Bistro, prepared and served by SMFBA culinary students: Maureen Oates, online full-time faculty member
- GCU swag bags: Marcie Burger, online full-time faculty member, and Alicia Burns, Director of Operations
GCU is closely aligned with SMFBA because of its similar goals in the community. SMFBA supplies food to the campus Learning Lounges, where K-12 students from neighborhood schools can get free academic assistance.
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