In 2008, the Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank saw a need in the community to create a Weekend Food4Kids Backpack Program to help feed 100 students who attended Title I schools. These students receive breakfast and lunch at school during the week and may not have access to healthy, easy to make meals during the weekend.
As the need to provide weekend meals to accommodate more students increased, the program was expanded. During the 2019-20 school year, this program will provide weekend meals for approximately 783 PV Schools students, even though the organization has only budgeted to provide meals to 750 students.
“With lots of thanks for lots of help from lots of people…School Social Workers/Volunteer Packing Team/Volunteer Drivers and other food bank volunteers along with financial support from foundations and service organizations who respond to our grant requests the food bank is pleased to be able to serve all requests for an ever-increasing number of participates in the Weekend For4Kids Program,” added Mary Sue and Larry Langford, board member and volunteers.
The food provided in the backpacks is intended to offer breakfast, lunch, and snack items to children for the weekend to replace the food provided by the school during the week. To put this into perspective, the budgeted “food only” cost for providing Weekend Food4Kids Backpack Program to one student for 34 weeks of the school year is $153.
In the last five years, including the 2019-20 school year, the PVEFB will have assembled more than 107,000 individual weekend food bags for 3,261 students. As the number of students who depend on this service grew larger, it became evident that the PVEFB needed to assist staff at the schools by delivering the food bags directly to the schools.
Private funding fuels the Weekend Food4Kids Backpack Program. Since federal or local government funds or subsidies are not involved, the PVEFB relies on the generosity and support of local foundations and organizations. The past year, their supporters included American Family Insurance, APS Corporate Giving, Arizona Cardinals Charities, BHHS Legacy, Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation, Boeing Employees Community Fund, Cox Charities, Fiesta Bowl Foundation, Herbert H. & Barbara C. Dow Foundation, John F. Long Foundation, Kemper & Ethel Marley Foundation, ON Semiconductor Global Corporate Giving, Phoenix Suns Charities, Season for Sharing, Paradise Valley Rotary Club, and Sundt Foundation.