Visiting AZBrainfood: Helping hungry children

So as part of the Mesa Leadership Program we have lots of tours of programs and facilities around our community. The first one was this morning and we visited AZBrainfood, a nonprofit organization that packs bags of food each week for needy elementary students to take home over the weekend.

wall
An inspirational sign on the wall, and, it really does!

AZBrainfood was started in 2009 by a concerned local mom, Ruth Collins, who found out from a teacher that some students would come to school hungry Monday mornings.

AZBrainfood founder Ruth Collins gives an overview of the organization and how they help local school children.
AZBrainfood founder Ruth Collins gives an overview of the organization and how they help local school children.

The program grew from a few students at two schools the first year to more than 2,600 this year throughout Mesa.

A list of the number of children needing weekend bags of food for each public elementary school in Mesa.
A list of the number of children needing weekend bags of food for each public elementary school in Mesa.

Fast Fact: “Arizona Brainfood is a non-profit organization that discreetly provides a backpack of food to feed hungry school children on the weekends. We hope that each child will return to school every Monday mentally aware and physically able to concentrate” (from the website).

back of building
The door at the back of the building has magnetic signs for each school, which are put on cars in the parking lot so the tubs can be loaded for delivery.

It’s all run completely by volunteers and donations and anyone who wants to help pack the bags shows up at 8:30 a.m. Thursdays at their warehouse, provided by Mesa Public Schools, at 325 E. McKellips.

packing
Volunteers fill bags of food, including easy-open ravioli, Spaghettios or stew; juice boxes; shelf-stable milk; Easy Mac; plastic fruit cups; individual cereals; power bars/granola bars; non-refrigerated pudding; canned green beans and canned pork and beans.

Did you know? Sixty-five percent of Mesa’s elementary-aged children qualify for the federal program of free or reduced lunch at school. For some of these children, their only food comes from the school lunch programs. Unfortunately, many have little or no food to eat on the weekends (from the website).

tubs to fill
More than 2,600 elementary school children are helped each week in Mesa alone. Some neighboring school districts also use the items and facilities for other needy children in the East Valley.

For more information on AZBrainfood or how to donate, visit the website: http://www.azbrainfood.org/

The Mesa Leadership class helped pack bags after the tour.
Members of the Mesa Leadership class who helped pack bags after the tour.
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