Local charities providing for those in need over the holiday season
KINGMAN – Lisa Fitzgerald was elated to see the truck from Aquarius casino arrive ahead of schedule Monday to deliver sacks of potatoes, fresh zucchini and canned tomato sauce to Cornerstone Mission.
The mission’s executive director needs to fill 50 boxes of food to be picked up by needy families for Thanksgiving.
“God bless you for what you guys do,” Fitzgerald told the Aquarius delivery crew. “We’ll call you for Christmas.”
Local charities provide for the poor, homeless and hungry people of Kingman all year long, and demand for services skyrockets during the holidays.
Cornerstone Mission, at 3049 Sycamore Ave., feeds anywhere from 50 to 100 people a day through its soup kitchen, and will probably serve an additional 100 dinners on Thanksgiving day, Fitzgerald said.
The soup kitchen is open daily from 4-6 p.m., and will go from 2-5 p.m. on Thanksgiving to give people an extra hour to take advantage of the meal.
“More people in town are doing Thanksgiving dinner, so that’s helpful for other people to have a place to go,” Fitzgerald said. “When folks do different nights, it gives people an additional dinner, or somewhere closer if they can’t walk to us.”
Cornerstone also receives two deliveries a month from St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, which supplies the soup kitchen and food boxes.
Shawna Browning, who works in marketing for Aquarius, said the casino has a program in which gamblers contribute 12,000 player points to feed a family of four.
“We want other casinos to step up,” she said. “They can afford to.”
Floyd & Co.
Jerry Carreiro was sitting at the table with his family for Thanksgiving dinner in 2009 when he started thinking about the hungry families going without and decided to do something for them.
“I saw all the food at my table, this big spread. We’ve got how many families today that can’t afford it? I felt it was more important to put it out there and help other families,” the former automotive technician and 20-year Kingman resident said.
He solicited donations from Kingman Regional Medical Center, The Gardens Rehab Center, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and some local furniture stores and put on free Thanksgiving dinners at Floyd & Co., formerly Redneck’s BBQ, at 420 E. Beale St.
He’ll be serving 35 turkeys with stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, rolls and dessert from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thanksgiving day, or until all the food is gone.
He’s seen the numbers increase 60 to 80 people wevery year, with about 550 coming in last year. It’s a lot of homeless folks, along with the elderly and people who have nowhere else to go, Carreiro said.
“The need gets greater each year,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. People don’t believe it, but we get to see it.”
Kingman Area Food Bank collects and distributes food boxes and serves as a “back door” warehouse for local charities and churches, serving more than 30,000 people in 2016.
That number will probably grow to 40,000 next year and 50,000 in 2018, said Catherine Walker, who was hired as executive director of the food bank this year.
The food bank collected about 1,000 hams and several hundred turkeys and roasted chickens to be given out for Thanksgiving.
“We’re providing a holiday meal. It may not be a turkey due to the price of turkeys being so high,” Walker told the Daily Miner.
The food bank at 2930 E. Butler Ave. serves not only people from Kingman, but from surrounding areas such as Golden Valley, Dolan Springs, Peach Springs and Yucca.
Anyone who is hungry and down on their luck is entitled to receive a food box. No income guideline is required, though requests for assistance are compared with federal poverty guidelines for eligibility.
Those who qualify receive a grocery cart full of food. Those who don’t can still receive a bag of food.
“I’m not sending anyone away hungry,” Walker said.
Bashas’ grocery stores team up with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul each year to collect and distribute turkeys for Christmas dinner for 20,000 families throughout Arizona. Turkeys are collected on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at nearly 100 Bashas’ stores statewide, including the one at 3360 Andy Devine Ave. in Kingman.
Volunteers meet with the families to assess their needs, said Jamie Bethune, manager of community drives and events for St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix. The charity connects people with the closest and most convenient service that meets their needs, she said.
St. Vincent de Paul operates a food bank at 218 Beale St. in downtown Kingman, doling out food from the pantry from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.