Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sun, Aug. 18

Hungry Kids program meets children's needs without raising taxes

Many underprivileged children nationwide start their day with a hot breakfast, thanks to state programs that make nutritious meals available to youngsters whose families cannot afford them. But now, states are struggling with finding the money to meet the need.

Despite our current suffering economy, America is still the land of embarrassing riches. And we're also still the people who hate to pay taxes.

Put the two together, and just like the Community Roundtable did, we can meet any need that crops up. And, if we take a lesson from Colorado, when citizens step up to help, government needs to get out of the way.

With a little generosity, personal sacrifice and creativity, we can meet the needs in our communities created by state budget shortfalls. And unlike many government programs, we can meet those needs more effectively and with less money.

One local example is that of the Hungry Kids Project in Prescott, spearheaded by Ron Barnes. Barnes saw the need for nutritious food for children who received free or reduced lunches during the days they were not in school. The Hungry Kids project provides backpacks with two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners to these students on Friday afternoons. Barnes said the cost for the meals is about $209 per child per year. Volunteers and district kitchen staff work to produce and pack the bags. On Friday, 86 children from took home backpacks of food from the Prescott Unified School District, and happily, the Humboldt Unified School District started a similar program this past Friday, sending home food for 27 children from two district elementary schools.

The Humboldt School District program needs both volunteers and donors, said Carm Staker, who is helping to start Hungry Kids in the Prescott Valley area. Those who would like to donate to the HUSD program may mail checks to The Connection, 6411 N. Robert Rd., Prescott Valley, AZ 86314, also marked Hungry Kids. Those who would like to volunteer in the HUSD project may call Carm Staker at (928) 772-9563.

If we can start a program such as this that is sure to grow and meet an important need in our communities, how many more needs can we meet with the same creativity, efficiency and attitude of caring?

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