For more than 80 years, the Junior League of Phoenix (JLP) has been dedicated to lasting and positive change for the Valley of the Sun. The current focus area of JLP is building a healthy Arizona. The motivation behind this focus is “every person in Phoenix should have access to healthy food and to the information that can help them improve the health of their families.”
With this focus in mind, JLP teamed up with Valley of the Sun United Way to help end hunger in the classroom. In 2017, JLP provided a $30,000, three-year grant to support United Way’s Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC). BIC is an innovative program to ensure children start the day off with a good meal, leading to a higher level of focus in the classroom.
"This program allows students the ability to have their free breakfast with all their classmates without the stigma of going to the cafeteria for a ‘free meal’ while also letting students focus on their education and not where their next meal is coming from. With 28.2% of Arizona children facing hunger, this program also allows our members a meaningful hands-on volunteer experience stuffing the weekend backpacks. There is no greater feeling than knowing the work you have done has had a direct impact on a child and is moving the needle on ending hunger for the children of Arizona," shared Cathy Comer, Junior League of Phoenix 2016-2018 President.
“Every person in Phoenix should have access to healthy food and to the information that can help them improve the health of their families.”
JLP members are a dedicated and hard-working community of women - attorneys, nurses, accountants, caregivers, stay-at-home moms - from a wide variety of backgrounds. All members share a passion for volunteering and serving their communities.
The JLP community is aware that many children who benefit from BIC may also be in need of food when the school week ends. During the first grant year, members volunteered at WeekEnd Hunger Backpack (WHB) assembly events, to build and distribute backpacks filled with a weekend’s worth of food that were distributed to children at local BIC schools. To date, 64 volunteers have provided 188 service hours and have been part of a larger team that has completed more than 14,000 backpacks over seven months.
JLP is invested in developing long-term initiatives and programs that meet the ever-changing needs of the local community. To meet these needs, members are involved in advocacy and community outreach efforts. In late 2017, members participated in a United Way Public Policy and Advocacy 101 Training, to gain skills on how to share the importance of BIC with school boards and other decision makers.
In addition, JLP was a sponsor of United Way’s 2017 Women United Luncheon, a fundraising event focused on ending hunger in the classroom, and continues to be a supporter of the annual event. Most recently, members helped get the word out to local families about United Way’s Food and Financial Literacy, or Wise Choices program, at the March 2018 JLP HealthFest, a free health and wellness family-friendly event.
United Way extends a heartfelt thank you to JLP for making a real impact in our community through its ending hunger efforts. We echo the sentiments of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who shared, “When the Junior League of Phoenix gets behind an idea, Phoenix changes for the better.”