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The Town of Sahuarita has allocated $5,000 to assist the Sahuarita Food Bank and Community Resource Center’s weekend BackPack program. The program serves a total of 346 students by providing weekend food—a time when many students (who also qualify for free or reduced lunches at school) might otherwise go without meals. At an overall cost of $65,740 per year, the BackPack program is the food bank’s most costly program.
Carlos Valles, executive director of the food bank, said that the increased funding from the town will help them meet the growing needs of the community. “The backpack program is one of our most important programs, because no community should have hungry children,” Valles said.
Penelope Pestle, president of the board of directors for the food bank, notes that some children in the program report BackPack food items as the only food eaten from Friday evening through Monday morning when they are provided meals at school. She says that there has been a growing need for assistance from the food bank with 57% increase in the number of students receiving BackPacks of food over the past five years.
In addition to the $5,000 the town provides the Sahuarita food bank for the backpack program $42,000 is also provided annually for general emergency food and shelter purposes to the Community Food Bank of Green Valley, which is split with Sahuarita Food Bank and Community Resource Center.