A grant from Fry’s Food Stores will support a growing number of mobile school pantries helping families even while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The $25,000 grant from Fry’s will be used for to pay for food purchases, staffing, and transporting food.
The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona supports 22 school pantries across 8 school districts and two counties, providing food and resources for families in neighborhood schools and community centers. The majority of school pantries continue to operate despite school closures, with school staff offering to pack and distribute packs of food including fresh produce, through no-contact and drive-through distribution offered during grab and go lunch service.
“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 Michael McDonald, CEO of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. “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.”
“Many community members are facing unprecedented challenges meeting their basic essential needs as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mel Ryan, Fry’s Food Stores Tucson District Manager. “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.”
Last year the Community Food Bank distributed 288,275 pounds of food to 12,847 children through 15 school pantries. Nearly half of the food distributed was fresh produce. School pantries also offer food demonstrations with a focus on preparing healthy dishes, nutrition-related education, and information about critical resources available in the community.