Thursday, August 2, 2012

PUSD needs food donations for hungry kids

Did you know that approximately 17 million children, or 1 in 4 in the US, are at risk of hunger? This problem is compounded when children do not have sufficient amounts of food to eat over the weekend.

Payson Unified School District (PUSD) is continuing the Backpack Food Program started last school year. It will be managed by Sodexo with help from a generous grant to PUSD from the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness. Additionally a group of Sodexo employees has volunteered to support this program.

The process is fairly simple. Non-perishable food is put into backpacks by volunteers for distribution each Friday. The participating students pick up their backpack in the school office and take it home over the weekend. The process is repeated each week. 

This year’s program begins on Aug. 3. We have identified Julia Randall Elementary, Payson Elementary School and Rim Country Elementary School as having the greatest need. These schools were chosen because of their significantly high free and reduced meal populations. Teachers, school secretaries and others can identify at-risk students that match the criteria for the program. Confidentiality is of the utmost importance, and participating students will be known only to the principal and/or school secretary. Sodexo team members will not know which students receive weekend food.


Even with the grant, we can use donations of food to this program.  Attached is a list of items that fit our needs. Please bring any items that you have to any of the school cafeterias. In addition to food items, we are looking for little goodies like gently used books, new coloring books, crayons and puzzle books. Items will be picked up and taken to RCMS, where the food bags will be assembled, and then distributed to children in need.  This will be an on-going, year-long food drive.

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