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Scottsdale organizations fight childhood hunger, host candidates

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  • Becky Kelbaugh/Scottsdale Unified School District


It may surprise people that the Scottsdale Unified School District has 11 Title I schools and approximately 7,000 students use the Free and Reduced Lunch program. In an effort to provide a better understanding of the Healthy Packs Program and the link between nutrition and education, SUSD, Children’s Action Alliance and the City of Scottsdale will host a visit for political candidates on Friday, September 19th at 9:30 a.m. at Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center, 4330 N. 62nd St., Scottsdale 85251.

“This campaign season, Arizona voters and candidates are seeking strategies that work to improve children’s health and education. We all know that children who are hungry can’t learn. Children’s Action Alliance is pleased to provide the opportunity for policy makers to learn more about a successful public-private partnership to improve both health and learning,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, president and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance.

Scottsdale organizations fight childhood hunger, host candidates BackpackFood800Because childhood hunger is a reality in every community, including Scottsdale, backpack food programs help fill the hunger gap that many children experience over weekends and breaks when free or reduced-price school cafeteria meals are not available. The Healthy Packs Program provides bags of kid-friendly, nutritious food to students who have limited access to food on the weekend. Currently, approximately 175 students who attend Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center and Tonalea Elementary School receive Healthy Packs.

“The Healthy Packs Program began because one of our reading specialists, Judy Stall, saw the effects of hunger on her students and decided to do something about it. We began distributing Healthy Packs at ANLC to just 13 students in February 2011. The program has grown to about 175 students in two schools. We hope this visit will bring awareness to the program, so that we can get the donations to be able to expand it to more Scottsdale schools,” said Rosita Pinedo, community specialist at ANLC.

The program is operated by the City of Scottsdale’s Vista del Camino Food Bank with financial and fundraising assistance from Concerned Citizens for Community Health. The Healthy Packs Program relies on volunteers and monetary donations from community organizations, private groups and individuals. State and federal funds are not available for backpack food programs.

Scottsdale organizations fight childhood hunger, host candidates HealthyPacksHP2At the conclusion of the visit, candidates running for public office will deliver Healthy Packs to classrooms.

For more information about the Healthy Packs Program or to make a donation, please visit

Scottsdale Unified School District, where we Engage, Educate and Empower Every Student, Every Day. The District and 19 schools have earned the state’s highest A-F Achievement Profile grade – A – by the Arizona Department of Education. For more information about Scottsdale Unified schools, please visit