Now that Arizona children are back in school, local food banks are seeing a spike in demand as many parents are spread thin financially, purchasing school supplies and other back to school expenses.
Larry H. Miller Dealerships announced a partnership with two of Arizona’s largest food banks, St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona in Tucson, on a month-long Food Fuels Learning campaign, which will help children who are back in the classroom with the food they need for academic success.
Now through Sept. 30, Larry H. Miller Dealerships is encouraging its employees and the public to help fill a vehicle at each of its 12 dealerships across metro Phoenix and Tucson with nonperishable food items to help children go back to school with proper food and nutrition.
Some of the most needed items include peanut butter, cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, rice, beans, pasta, and canned meats (tuna, chicken, and beef).
Larry H. Miller has three dealerships in Peoria: Hyundai, 8425 W. Bell Road; Dodge Ram, 8665 W. Bell Road; and Toyota, 8633 W. Bell Road.
The Food Fuels Learning campaign will culminate in October, when a caravan of Larry H. Miller Dealerships vehicles stuffed with non-perishable food will deliver the donations to the food banks.
The campaign will support the Backpack Program at St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, which provides children who are chronically hungry with a weekly food bag to help their families through the weekend.
Families facing hunger need additional meals after the week to get by during the weekends and heavily rely on programs such as the Backpack Program at St. Mary’s Food Bank. Backpacks are filled with non-perishable items that provide at least three nutritious meals to a family of four. St. Mary’s currently collaborates with more than 100 schools and community centers to provide about 7,000 backpacks per week to families across the state.
The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona’s School Pantries Program in Tucson works to alleviate hunger by providing resources to low-income families via food pantries at convenient locations. Both programs are vital for school performance among children across the state.
“We know childhood hunger is a very real problem in Arizona, and families are struggling now more than ever to stay afloat during this time,” said Pat Kroneberger, senior vice president of operations, Larry H. Miller Dealerships. “Our company is focused on supporting children in their health and education, and we hope this month-long drive will help fill a void at the local food banks and provide nutrition to students to support their learning.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the communities served by both food banks. This past year, St. Mary’s Food Bank distributed 120 million pounds of food, a record for the organization. Now that children are returning to school, the organization is seeing an increase in families in need for both of its Children’s Feeding Programs.
“This has been a record-breaking year at St. Mary’s Food Bank,” said Jerry Brown, director of public relations. “We’ve never experienced a spike quite like we did earlier this year and now with children returning to school, we want to be prepared and keep our pantries stocked. Larry H. Miller Dealerships’ Food Fuels Learning campaign is happening at an ideal time. The need for after school and weekend assistance is high, and we could not be more thrilled to have a community partner eager to support us.”