Golfers Will Help Build New Food Bank

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The St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank in Payson needs a new building to house food surpluses.

To raise the money, the group is sponsoring its fourth annual golf tournament at the Payson Golf Course at 9 a.m., Saturday April 30.

Proceeds from the event will go toward purchasing the food bank's 24-by-60-foot modular building.

"Right now we are cramped and we have no privacy. Applicants come in and make their requests and everyone can overhear," said Robert Closs, the director of the food bank. "Privacy and confidentiality are a main issue with us." The new structure meets two requirements, one from the town of Payson, the other from the food bank itself.

The building, according to the town, must warehouse food surpluses, while St. Vincent de Paul wants the structure to be transportable -- in case it has to be moved later on.

Additionally, an energy-efficient 10-by-20 walk-in cooler and freezer will go in adjacent to the new building.

The insulation will help keep produce from St. Mary's fresh, giving volunteers time to distribute healthy food to those who need it.

And, the building will also have a bathroom with an industrial-style sink.

"If we receive a case of (spaghetti sauce) and one of the jars is broken we have to haul it across town, wash everything there and haul it back," said volunteer Kathleen Hughes. "The bathroom will give us quality control right in the building. It will cut down on labor tremendously."

St. Vincent de Paul Society is giving their food bank a $65,000 no-interest loan to get the project moving forward.

The loan will be repaid through charitable contributions like the golf tournament.

The new food bank will lease land from St. Philip's Catholic Church's on the northwest corner of its property.

"We get three 18-wheelers coming up from the Valley bringing us food from St. Vincent de Paul Society, United Food Bank and St. Mary's Food Bank," Closs. "Several items have been damaged over the years. This new location will be more feasible for us and for the church."

In 2004, the St. Vincent de Paul Rim Country Food Bank fed more people than Payson has full-time residents. Volunteers stored, sorted, boxed and bagged $229,648 worth of staple items like canned vegetables, bread, peanut butter and sausage to those in need.

The rise in recipients is a result of Payson's changing demographics. In the past the food bank primarily served the elderly. Now, the young, the unemployed and workers who don't earn enough money because of a lack of education or language skills balance the numbers.

Golfers interested in participating in the golf tournament -- a four-person shotgun scramble format -- are asked to make a $65 donation ($45 for Payson Golf Course members). The cost includes green fees, cart and buffet.

Participants can form their own foursomes or they will be assigned on handicaps.

Golfers can earn prizes for low net scores, closest-to-pin and raffles -- not to mention the casino door gifts.

Make a hole-in-one on the eighth hole and win a Ford Explorer cosponsored by Phil White Ford; a hole-in-one on the second hole garners a $10,000 prize, cosponsored by Amon Builders.

St. Vincent de Paul hopes to be in the new building by the middle of summer.

Contact Richard Roy at (928) 474-9559 or Joe Gasiel at (928) 474-9688 to register for the tournament, sponsor a tee or donate a prize.

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