Jim and Alice Shoaf
MVCC Food bank
Maricopa Unified District Office​
Come as you are.
44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy
Non-perishable  foods can be dropped off at Mountain View Community Church 50881 N. Papago Rd
Maricopa, AZ, 85139
Mountain View Community Church Food Bank
50881 N. Papago Rd
Maricopa, AZ, 85139

​Feeds 300-400 families at each distribution. This equates to as much as 40,000 pounds of food. Your donations help pay the costs of getting and supplying this food to our community is very much needed and APPRECIATED!!!
MARICOPA — Sometimes it’s the small actions that make a big impact.

Mountain View Community Food Bank operates from a tiny church on dusty Papago Road in the middle of Thunderbird Farms, south of Maricopa.

Founder Jim Shoaf, a church elder who works as a school bus driver, has dedicated his weekends several times a month for the past 11 years to meeting his neighbors in need.

An unusual buy-in program features a sponsor night several times a month. Everybody — volunteer or recipient — receives the same box of food for $20: a box for each donor and someone else.

If an individual doesn’t have money, that’s OK, there’s enough food for everyone.

“No one goes away without food,” Shoaf said.

Chock full of produce, meat and fresh bread, the boxes become a lifeline for residents in Maricopa and the rural outlying areas of Thunderbird Farms, Stanfield and Hidden Valley.

“We watch for the guy who comes and walks away,” Shoaf said. “I have the everyday worker, the one who lost his job. They have pride.”

Shoaf and his growing army of volunteers want to restore self-respect to people who find themselves in difficult situations.

“Some people tell me, ‘I’ve never had to do this before,’ ” Shoaf said.

It’s not just about food: It’s about dignity.

“We have to help people help themselves, our job is to not just help them,” Shoaf said. “That’s where I think we are different.”

Shoaf shared the story of one woman “who would be considered homeless” and now she scrapes up $20 for sponsor night to help someone else.

Reactions range from shame to thankfulness to surprise that a recent turn in life requires a trip to a food bank.

Church folk, high school kids and needy individuals make up a fiercely loyal squad of volunteers who work with Shoaf.

“I actually got to connect with people, both sponsors and the less fortunate,” said high school junior Cristaly Betancourt, a staple at Mountain View on Food Bank days. “People think that there are qualifications and I like the Food Bank because there are no qualifications. Anybody can get a box ... it’s changed my life.”

Learning visitors’ personal stories allows Shoaf to help fill in the financial gaps. Mountain View has helped with rent and utility bills on occasion, and even found money to pay for vital medications.

They collect appliance donations to either use, fix up and give away or sell the scrap metal for cash. Whatever’s left gets distributed to local groups such as the American Legion.

“Nobody here gets paid, but everyone here will get rewards in another place,” he said.

After recognition from organizations like the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce — the Food Bank was nominated for nonprofit of the year!!! 

Volunteers served 1,100 people during one weekend in January, followed by 1,000 individuals a week after. Most hail from the Thunderbird Farms, Hidden Valley and Maricopa areas.

It was 11 years ago when Shoaf was approached by Ken Holland, founder of the MASH food unit. Holland was on his way to buy food for his outreach program, so Shoaf handed him $15. The two have been partners ever since.

The number of families coming for food is steadily growing. An average of 350 families show up each time. A second location at the Maricopa Unified School District office has been added.

“We were dealing with farmworkers, migrants, but more city people now,” Shoaf said. “They are certainly increasing. We’ve been running out of a lot of what we bring in.”

Feeding America estimates that in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 15.3 percent of Pinal County residents, or 56,190 people, faced food insecurity.

Pinal County fell slightly below the average estimated state food insecurity rate of 17.8 percent, which comes out to more than 1.1 million individuals. It’s estimated that 30 percent of that number don’t qualify for federal aid.

Apache County experienced the highest food insecurity rate in Arizona. More than 25 percent of its residents are at risk for hunger.

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Casa Grande Dispatch 2-17--14
Church’s food bank fills rural niche ~~ Help is available
Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 8:48 am / ​Updated: 11:29 am, Tue Mar 3, 2015.
By Sarah Ruf, Maricopa Monitor

For information on Food Bank schedules, please visit us at:
Mountain View Community Church Food Bank
50881 W. Papago Road, Maricopa  AZ  85139
50881 W. Papago Road