08/09/2015, By Krista Hinz
BY JIM CROSS | August 10, 2015 @ 12:46 pm
PHOENIX — More than 70 volunteers took a few hours this past weekend to put together more than 1,200 food packs for kids in need.
“Hunger has an impact on the kids’ health and threatens long-term academics,” Jason Matthews with Valley of the Sun United Way said. “Hungry kids don’t concentrate on school.”
The packs, assembled by United Way and Triple-A of Arizona volunteers, are for children who receive free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch during the week, but cannot count on regular meals over the weekend.
“This decreases the sense of stress and anxiety that comes with being food insecure,” Matthews said. “If you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you’re always going to be stressed and worried. If we can reduce that stress and help them focus on school, that’s a good thing.”
Matthews said about 82,000 households in Maricopa County experience chronic hunger, half of which have at least one school-aged child.
The food packs will be distributed at events throughout the school year.