Midwest Food Bank (MFB), a faith-based, non-denominational nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization, was started in 2003 when the Kieser family began distributing food out of a barn on their family farm. MFB began by serving about 10 food pantries in McLean County, Illinois. Today the Bloomington division serves over 260+ organizations across the eastern 2/3 of Illinois in 39 counties. The food given out each month now reaches nearly one million people. Midwest Food Bank Bloomington purchased its current building in 2005.
The amount of food we distribute has steadily grown over the years as we strive to fight hunger. We receive donated food from food manufacturers, distributors, grocers, community and organizational food drives, and from individual donors. Today, we distribute over $8.3 million in food each month. Midwest Food Bank functions today as it did at its founding: a faith-based community organization consisting of hundreds of volunteers, generous donors, and corporate partners, all operating to serve those in need.
Midwest Food Bank - Phoenix Division
Late in 2014, Eric Sheldahl, a Phoenix, AZ area resident, was reading the Charity Navigator website. Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity navigator, provides free ratings of the health, accountability and transparency of thousands of charities. Upon reviewing Midwest Food Bank’s financial practices, Charity Navigator ranked us as a ‘Four Star charity’ and placed MFB on several of their ‘Top Ten’ lists. Over 99¢ of every dollar donated to MFB is used to deliver programs and services to those in need.
Eric and his wife, Mary, were looking for a ministry that truly delivers help to those in need. The Sheldahls decided to give money to Midwest Food Bank, because its values agreed with theirs. Early in 2015, Midwest Food Bank Founder and CEO, David Kieser, gave Eric a call to thank him for his generosity. This got Eric’s attention.
Eric sent another donation late in 2015 and got another call from David. This time, Eric asked David how he could do something similar to MFB in Phoenix. “Looking back,” Eric says, “I should have said, ‘How can God work through me like he works through you in Bloomington?’”
“We have considered a presence in Arizona for several years,” says David. “We are very pleased to work with Eric. His vision to assist the less fortunate meshes perfectly with the mission of Midwest Food Bank.” Eric has joined the MFB board.
A warehouse has been purchased in Gilbert, AZ, and renovations are under way. The plan is for the division to be operational by December 2016.
Eric is amazed at where a simple phone call can lead. His team now regularly makes calls to thank donors.