Thunderbirds Charities Donates $300,000 to Bolster St. Mary’s Kids Cafe Program Including 2 New Refrigerated Trucks and “Grab And Go” After School Meals


Phoenix, AZ – Thunderbirds Charities, a major player in the growth and expansion of St. Mary’s Kids Cafe Program, has donated $300,000 to allow the food bank to purchase two new refrigerated trucks and to purchase food to help reach more of Arizona’s hungry children than ever before through a new program.

Kids Cafe serves more than 8,000 after-school meals each day at more than 140 locations to kids at risk of hunger who may not be receiving balanced, nutritional meals at home.

Many meals are served at after school programs that provide a safe environment for kids not only to eat but work on homework and participate in sports and other activities. But the Thunderbirds are helping St. Mary’s reach even more kids in 2018 by providing food for the new “Grab and Go” program where students receive a meal at the end of the school day before they walk home or get on the bus.

Thunderbirds Charities have provided more than $120 million to Valley non-profits over the years and have played an instrumental role in St. Mary’s reaching as many children as possible through Kid Cafe. The two new trucks will join St. Mary’s existing fleet of Kid Cafe trucks also made possible through donations by the Thunderbirds.

“St. Mary’s Food Bank and its Kids Cafe program is doing tremendous work in the community, providing vulnerable children with nutritious meals,” said Thunderbirds Charities President Andy Markham. “At Thunderbirds Charities, we know the deep and long-lasting impact that food insecurity has on a child and we are very proud and humbled to work with St. Mary’s to try and change their circumstances.”

St. Mary’s is celebrating its 50th anniversary and recently distributed its one billionth meal to Arizona’s hungry.

“Kids Cafe is one of our most vital and important programs at St. Mary’s, and it would never be as successful or impactful without the continued support of Thunderbirds Charities,” Food Bank President and CEO Tom Kertis said. “The Thunderbirds have embraced the cause of childhood hunger and our mission to always serve one more child. The incredible expansion of Kids Cafe and our ability to open more and more site are a direct result of their vision and determination to help.”

ABOUT THE FOOD BANK: Celebrating its 50th year as the world’s FIRST Food Bank, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization that alleviates hunger by efficiently gathering and distributing food to 474 partner agencies at 600 locations that serve the hungry.  Serving nine of Arizona’s 15 counties, the organization is a member of Feeding America, the national network of food banks, and is committed to volunteerism, building community relationships, and improving the quality of life for Arizonans in need. In Fiscal Year 2016-17, the Food Bank distributed more than 86 million pounds of food to Arizona families and children and garnered more than 200,000 volunteer service hours. Web site: Phone: 602-242-FOOD. 

ABOUT THE THUNDERBIRDS/THUNDERBIRDS CHARITIES: Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament. The Thunderbirds Charities Board consists of 15 board members from varying professional backgrounds. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in our communities. The organization’s giving is directed toward organizations based or with a significant presence in Arizona. The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. The Thunderbirds consist of 55 “active” members and more than 250 “life” members. For more information on the Thunderbirds or the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open, visit For more information on Thunderbirds Charities, visit