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7:13 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

Hungry Kids Project seeks to feed growing numbers

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>
From left, Everett Sanborn, Kathy Eiskamp, Lorraine Tirrell, and John Gage, volunteers with Prescott Area Leadership, put together sack lunches for students as part of the 2011 Hungry Kids Project.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br> From left, Everett Sanborn, Kathy Eiskamp, Lorraine Tirrell, and John Gage, volunteers with Prescott Area Leadership, put together sack lunches for students as part of the 2011 Hungry Kids Project.

With summer break starting soon, The Hungry Kids Project is seeking donations to continue providing nutritious meals to children in need for the next school year, founder Ron Barnes said.

For the past three years, The Hungry Kids Project has provided two nutritious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for children to take home each Friday during the school year in Prescott and Humboldt Unified School Districts. The program started in Chino Valley Unified School District last fall. Students in the program are identified by school officials.

"In Prescott we fed 15 kids at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year and 98 by the end of school for about $14,625," Barnes said. "This year, we started at 60 kids and we fed 142 by the end of the school year for $29,162."

The project feeds 100 students each week in HUSD and another 100 in CVUSD, Barnes said.

"If we had the money, we would double those numbers," Barnes said. "That's the need."

Forty one percent of all students in PUSD qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch program, 62 percent in HUSD, and 71 percent in CVUSD, Barnes said. PUSD has 50 homeless students, HUSD has 358, and CVUSD has 200, Barnes noted.

Project volunteers also grow vegetables in two community gardens - one at the Prescott YMCA and the other behind the Albertson's in Prescott Valley - and 8,686 pounds of them were given to families in need last year, Barnes said.

The Hungry Kids Project, funded through grants and donations, needs donations to buy food. Donations can be made to each school district's educational foundation, with a note in the check memo line that it's for The Hungry Kids Project.

• Prescott Education Foundation, Prescott Unified School District Office, 146 S. Granite Street, Prescott, AZ 86303.

• Chino Valley Education Foundation, Chino Valley Unified School District #51, P.O. 225, Chino Valley, AZ 86323.

• Humboldt Education Foundation, Humboldt Unified School District Office, Attention Beth Turner, 6411 N. Robert Road, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314.