Families looking to keep their children fed with the help of local school pantries recently received support in the form of a $25,000 grant from Fry’s Food Stores to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
The funding will support the nonprofit’s 22 school pantry programs, located in eight school districts in two counties. The pantries provide food to families despite school closures, and many continue to do so through the summer.
“We so appreciate the support from Fry’s Food Stores to help students and families get the food they need in their neighborhood schools,” said food bank CEO Michael McDonald, in a press release. “A trip to the Food Bank can be out of the question for working families balancing jobs, children, and the responsibilities that go with that. A mobile school pantry provides food in a way that’s easy for families to access.”
The food bank provides aid and resources to five different counties in Southern Arizona: Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, and Santa Cruz, totaling 23,000 square miles and over 1.2 million people.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Southern Arizona, the food bank is now producing approximately 8,000 meals a week.
“Many community members are facing unprecedented challenges meeting their basic essential needs as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fry’s Food Stores Tucson District Manager Mel Ryan. “Ensuring individuals and families have access to healthy, nutritious food is a top priority at Fry’s. We are honored to partner with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona to help meet the food needs of the Tucson community today and every day.”
According to the food bank, 288,275 pounds of food was distributed to 12,847 children through 15 school pantries last year, nearly half of which was fresh produce.