Hunger is no laughing matter something that St. Mary’s Food Bank understands very well. For nearly 50 years St. Mary’s Food Bank has been providing the community with non-perishable food items to feed families with no questions asked.
St. Mary’s Food Bank started in 1967 and it’s known as the world’s first food bank. All other food banks around the country and the world are based on the model at St. Mary’s Food Bank. The holiday months during Thanksgiving and Christmas bring in a generous supply of food donations to the food bank. The summer months are a different story June, July and August are the most challenging months for food donations at St. Mary’s Food Bank.
School is out for the summer, kids that receive breakfast and lunch through the school program don’t receive those meals during the summer. This puts a burden on a lot of families in Arizona that are having trouble feeding their kids. People that donate to the food bank take off for vacation during the summer so the demand rises for food donations.
Director of Public Relations, Jerry Brown was approached for the second time by the Tempe Improv to combine comedy as a way to help feed the hungry during the summer months with their comedy series, Hunger is no Joke.
“We need as much food as we can get but what we’re doing is offering folks a free night of comedy for just helping us with some food. The first 75 people who come on Thursday nights during the Hunger is no jokes nights, there’s one in June, July and August. With five cans get free admission into the show. So not only are you helping to fight hunger but your also helping yourself to a great night of free comedy, said Brown.”
St. Mary’s Food Bank distributes 250,000 meals a day. Food is distributed from St. Mary’s and 300 of their agency partners from around the state. Food boxes will be filled up with the food that is donated from the Hunger is no Joke nights. St. Mary’s Food Bank distributes 40,000 of those food boxes every month and that’s a three to four day supply of food for a family of four.
Food Drive Manager, Ernesto Ortiz who is also a local comedian worked closely with a person that brings the national comedians to town for this event and they have been a great fit. ”Being in the comedy scene there are a lot of nice people who are willing to do things for other people, their helpful and a lot of us are very poor, said Ortiz.”
Although Ortiz will not take the stage at the Tempe Improv and show us a sample of his stand up skills, he will be on hand working as a representative. Ortiz will take your non-perishable donations of can soup, canned vegetables, canned fruit, peanut butter, boxes of macaroni and cheese, rice and cereal.
“I love working here at the food bank I get to help people every single day and I love comedy so the marriage of the two was very easy when the idea came up, I thought this is exciting, said Ortiz.”
The Tempe Improv will kick off the Hunger is no Joke comedy series with the first of three shows on Thursday June 4, with comedian Justin Willman. Willman has been described as a new breed of magician who’s making magic cool again for grown-ups.
The second show is on Thursday, July 16, with “The Weizel” actor and comedian Paul Shore who quickly rose to fame in the 90’s as an MTV VJ and appeared in movies like Encino Man and Son in Law.
The final show in the series is on Thursday August 27 with comedian Brent Morin who’s a Columbia film school graduate who decided to give comedy a try. Morin has also worked as a production assistant with Conan O’Brien on The Tonight Show.
Gather your non-perishable food items and help the St. Mary’s Food Bank feed Arizona families during the summer months all while laughing out loud. The Hunger is no Joke comedy series will be held at the Tempe Improv at 930 E University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281 on Thursday nights, on June 4, July 16 and August 27 at 8 p.m.