Flinn-Brown Fellow David Martinez III often starts his day by walking through the massive St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance’s warehouse in an industrial part of Phoenix. Pallets of dry and canned goods, fruit, proteins, and dairy are meticulously organized by category and expiration date and labeled for delivery to some 300 food distribution partners across 80,000 square miles of the state. Enough food is shipped from the Phoenix warehouse to provide 275,000 meals daily in communities throughout Arizona. David scans to see what food is in stock and where it is headed. The ritual is a reminder, perhaps, of the enormity of St. Mary’s mission—but also of the talent, resources, and partnerships that surround the challenge of ending hunger in Arizona.
Engaging supporters, effective communication, and building broad-based coalitions are key levers in the food bank’s infrastructure designed to secure scarce resources and, ultimately, achieve a hunger-free Arizona. As Advocacy and Outreach Specialist for St. Mary’s, David works to build awareness and strengthen the food bank’s connections in Congress, at the State Capitol, and among local government officials by mobilizing food bank supporters from the grassroots to the “grasstops” levels, leveraging local media, and building partnerships. As a testament to the effectiveness of his strategies, he recently won a $100,000 grant from Feeding America—a national partner—to enhance his engagement efforts. The funds will be used to build the St. Mary’s Advocacy Team (A-Team), which will be comprised of supporters who can be mobilized in every congressional and legislative district in Arizona to communicate issues and build support among policymakers for ongoing food-bank operations.
In addition to the prestigious national grant, David is participating in Feeding America’s inaugural Advocacy Academy in partnership with the Congressional Management Foundation. Just 25 leaders from food banks across the county were selected to participate in this intensive training dedicated to meaningful civic engagement between citizens and members of Congress.
David is a Flinn-Brown Fellow committed to expanding his state-level civic leadership contributions in Arizona. Meet more Flinn-Brown Fellows here and follow our blog to learn about their work throughout the state.