A dining room for the community

Toro Insurance Group works with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to feed, clothe and house individuals and families. They reached their goal of 500 votes and doubled their donation to reach $10,000.

About 468,000 families across central and northern Arizona cannot currently afford necessities such as adequate food, clothing and health services. To help this vulnerable population, SVdP prepares and serves more than 4,000 meals each day in five area dining rooms where people can gather to eat and connect with community members and neighbors.  The nonprofit also provides home visits, rent and utility bill assistance and employment resources that can have profound positive effects on people’s lives.

A dining room for the community 1
Mike Gallaugher and a volunteer harvest broccoli at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Rob and Melani Walton Urban Farm in Phoenix, AZ.

Moving mountains, one stone at a time

The Toro Insurance Group partners with SVdP to help the nonprofit fulfill its mission and reach even more people. Agency owner Mike Gallaugher and his five employees provide direct, hands-on involvement such as preparing food and helping in the dining rooms to help make incremental improvements in the lives of others. While acknowledging the scope of the need in their area, the team believes that small steps can lead to giant leaps.

 

“We take to heart a quote from Confucius that reads, ‘The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones,’” said Gallaugher. “The mountain represents the seemingly impossible task of feeding all who are hungry. The small stones are the acts of volunteerism, whether small or large, that get the job done. Whether packing food boxes for distribution, raising money or serving meals to neighbors in need, it all adds up. We can’t move a mountain overnight, but we can make a significant impact over time.”

A dining room for the community 2
Volunteers work at a food pick up at SVdP during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harvesting hope

One of the Toro Insurance Group’s most memorable experiences of working with SVdP was helping to transform a vacant dirt lot along a highway into the Rob and Melani Walton Urban Farm in 2018. Gallaugher credits that collective labor of love with solidifying the agency’s dedication to the nonprofit. “With the assistance of many hands, the SVdP urban farm is a testament to what a relatively small group of people can accomplish with vision, financial support and hard work,” he said.

 

Using permaculture and chemical-free growing methods, the farm yields hundreds of pounds of fresh produce every week that is used to feed people in the dining rooms and fill food boxes distributed to individuals and families. The nearly one-acre farm also has an aquaponics system that produces tilapia and a composting program that turns kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich soil used to grow more food.

“The SVdP urban farm is a testament to what a relatively small group of people can accomplish with vision, financial support and hard work.”

– Mike Gallaugher, owner of Toro Insurance Group

A dining room for the community 3
Mike Gallaugher in front of the Rob and Melani Walton Urban Farm in Phoenix.

Many hands make light work

In addition to getting his hands dirty, Gallaugher has also served on the SVdP Advisory Board since 2018. This includes attending monthly meetings, raising funds, fostering partnerships, preparing for annual events and developing programs. The entire Toro Insurance Group staff is involved in the effort as well, whether by keeping things moving at the office or volunteering at the dining room, urban garden or events.

 

Gallaugher’s family is deeply involved in the cause, too. His children, Kade, Sylar, and Jaxon, regularly prepare and serve meals, sort donated items, distribute food boxes to families and other tasks. They also work alongside the extended Toro family and other volunteers in planting, picking and maintaining the grounds at the urban farm.

“We could not feed, clothe, house and heal without the humble dedication and passion of community members like Toro Insurance Group, who serve with SVdP behind the scenes on a regular basis across our mission. We’re grateful for their belief in our work and compassion for their neighbors in need.”

– Ryan Corry, Chief Strategy Officer, St. Vincent de Paul

A dining room for the community 4
Volunteers preparing meals to be served in one of SVdP’s community dining rooms.

A lasting contribution

If awarded, a $10,000 donation from Safeco and Liberty Mutual Insurance would help SVdP continue to deliver the more than 1.5 million meals it serves each year to those in need. It would further help the organization provide housing and rent assistance, medical and dental services and funding to expand the urban farm. “Sharing food is just the beginning,” said Gallaugher. “SVdP’s holistic services also give individuals and families the tools they need to achieve lasting stability along with the support to meet their physical, mental, and spiritual needs.”

To vote, share this story using the blue icons to the left, comment below or both. Every vote or comment gets SVdP closer to a $10,000 donation, which will provide food, clothing, housing and support to families in need in central and northern Arizona. Visit Toro Insurance Group and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to learn more.

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Zoey Hoffman
4 months ago

Wonderful!!

Last edited 4 months ago by Zoey Hoffman
Trish
9 months ago

Yea!

Beth
10 months ago

Wow, that’s great!

Karin Crawford
10 months ago

This is fabulous!

Shelby Mallory
10 months ago

Mike! You are amazing! Such a wonderful group!!

gail oleaga
10 months ago

Awesome Mike and Team! You and your team are a great example of paying it forward. Thank you for all you do for others!

Leon
10 months ago

Great organization and cause! Thanks for your work in the community Mike

Sanchez
10 months ago

Thank you! May God bless each and everyone of you!

Last edited 10 months ago by Sanchez
Nancy allwnt
10 months ago

Great job Toro Insuance and Mike!

Joanie
10 months ago

Congratulations Toro Insurance Group for partnering with SVdP!

Margaret Papierski
10 months ago

At. Vincent de Paul

Siri
10 months ago

Such great work! Keep it up!

Dolores Witherspoon
10 months ago

Thank you for your support Toro Insurance Group! Great picture of you, Mike! This means so much to our Society in helping to continue our mission to healthily serve those in need. You will not be forgotten!

Tracy
10 months ago

So incredible!!

Tracy Thomason
10 months ago

Love this!

Mark Davenport
10 months ago

How amazing!!!

Irma
10 months ago

Thank you for the great support for our organization!

Michelle flynn
10 months ago

Good job. Love this!!

Michael Tapscott
10 months ago

I love, love, love this!!!

Mary Beth
10 months ago

Thank You for supporting SVdP!!

Sly Boskovich
10 months ago

It warms my heart everytime I hear or read about the amazing work that St. Vincent de Paul is doing in the community. What a great blessing to have Toro partnering to bring hope to families. Thank you so much for your continued work in healing and helping others

Last edited 10 months ago by Sly Boskovich
Andres Campa
10 months ago

Gracias por todo Toro!

Antoinette Campa
10 months ago

So awesome! Way to go Toro Insurance! What a great example. ❤

Adam W
10 months ago

Toro and Mike are awesome. Quality people!

Andrew
10 months ago

It’s not often that people are willing to be so selfless in this world that they give their time and dedication so willingly. Yall are awesome!

Rachael Drummond
10 months ago

Michael & his team at Toro are incredible!! This is just one more way they are stewards in our community with true servant hearts! Way to go!

Glen Daignault
10 months ago

Thanks for the great work!

Ty Young
10 months ago

Holy moly what a great organization! Keep it up guys, I love seeing great people doing great things!

Shannon Pansius
10 months ago

Thank you Torro Insurance & Svdp !!

Angela Feldman
10 months ago

Gardening is great therapy for all ages! What a wonderful idea!

Erin Barry
10 months ago

Way to go Toro

Cindy James-Richman
10 months ago

Mike and Toro Insurance-thank you for supporting the Urban Farm. Nutritious, organic local produce is sent directly to the SVdP kitchen and families, promoting healthy communities!

Diego
10 months ago

Awesome!

Sofia
10 months ago

Go mike!

Sofia
10 months ago

Yay

Carol Fuhr
10 months ago

Great idea! We are behind you Mike Gallegar!

P Peterso
10 months ago

We love St Vincent dePaul

Mike
10 months ago

TORO ROCKS!!!

Heath
10 months ago

Good Job!

Phoebe
10 months ago

Super impressive!

Jessica
10 months ago

Mike, you are fantastic 🙂

Holly Moore
10 months ago

The garden manager knows what’s she’s doing down there in phoenix!!

Lila
10 months ago

Toro Insurance Group is always doing what they can for the community. So happy to see they are working with SVdP.

Christina Shirley
10 months ago

This is awesome!! Thank you Toro Insurance and Saint Vincent de Paul!!

Malorie Pope
10 months ago

Toro Insurance is a great example of giving back in the community we live in.

Madisen Seitz
10 months ago

So awesome! Go Toro Insurance!

merrigan whiting
10 months ago

Thanks toro insurance for helping out!

Carrie
10 months ago

Love this story! SVDP is an AMAZING organization! What a great asset to the community they serve.

Kamryn Heiner
10 months ago

Amazing!!

Kathy
10 months ago

Many thanks to Toro Insurance, not only for all the work they do on our Urban Farm, but for submitting a winning nomination for SVdP for the Make More Happen Awards. We are so fortunate to have such caring partners.

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