Faith In Action

St. Francis in the Foothills Methodist Church

No person represents faith-in-action better than Sunny Sheldon, director of Children, Youth and Families at St. Francis. Sunny and the St. Francis congregation were the first to get involved with the Food Bank’s Snak Pak program, which provides backpacks filled with nutritious snacks for children identified by their schools as not having sufficient food at home during weekends.

Initially, St. Francis partnered with Erickson Elementary and provided 48 backpacks for distribution to children on Fridays. The congregation budgeted money; Sunny shopped bargains at grocery stores and Value Foods Store at the Community Food Bank; Sunday School classes packed the backpacks; and Sunny delivered them to Erickson every Friday.

Today, Sunny and St. Francis are providing 90-100 backpacks each week to 3 elementary schools: Erickson, Prince and Sahuarita. Backpacks are stuffed by the church and school student councils, and a special needs class of the Marana school district. Church members buy food “bargains” as they shop, pick up donated food, and put extra change in a hunger box they keep on their kitchen tables. Sunny has a storage shed on the church grounds to help store food donations. There are still weeks when food and money are short and Sunny “advances” the program from her own money. “It’s always worked out,” Sunny says, “Someone always seems to show up with a donation of food or money, and I can pay myself back.”