Weekend Backpack Food Program Fills Gap for Homeless/Highly Mobile Youth — Check Presentation April 28

PHOENIX, April 28, 2010 – Homeless/Highly Mobile students in 10 schools in the Washington Elementary School District will now have access to food supplies for the weekend, thanks to the generous support of the Qwest Foundation through an Arizona Department of Education grant.


The Snack Pack Program will provide homeless/highly mobile students with backpacks filled with nonperishable food for the weekend, so they can return to class ready to learn on Monday morning. The Snack Pack Program is funded by a $20,000 donation from the Qwest Foundation.


“Social workers and outreach coordinators who work with homeless/highly mobile students were seeing too many of these children eating poorly or not at all on the weekend,” said Dorothy Watkins, Administrator of Social Services in the Washington Elementary School District (WESD). “While we have been able to provide for many through partnerships with community providers such as Desert Mission Food Bank and Kitchen on the Street, this program gives even more homeless/highly mobile students a chance to stay nourished when they are away from school.”


The initiative is needed more than ever, said Frank  Migali, State Coordinator for Homeless Education  with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). The number of homeless students in Arizona rose from 21,381 in the 2007-2008 school year to 25,263 in the 2008-2009 school year.  

 “This is a shining example of a terrific partnership among Qwest, ADE and the Washington District,” said Migali, “and it demonstrates how targeted grant dollars can really make a difference.”       


  said Jim Campbell, Qwest Arizona president. “By working with the Washington District social workers through ADE,  we ensure that Children come to school Monday morning ready to learn and focused on school – not on hunger.”


Check Presentation Event

Representatives from the Qwest Foundation, Arizona Department of Education, the Washington Elementary School District and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon have scheduled a check presentation event to support the backpack program on Wednesday, April 28, 2010, at 9 a.m. at Sunnyslope School, 245 East Mountain View Road, Phoenix. 


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