VVS students and faculty have worked hard this year to ease youth hunger in our local community. We learned that one out of four children in Arizona’s Verde Valley is food insecure, which means they may not know where their next meal is coming from.
First, we voted to “Fast for a Meal.” This means that one day each month, we have no lunch in our dining hall. The money saved on this meal is directly donated to local hunger initiatives.
In addition, Verde Valley School is collaborating with the Yavapai Food Council on a new approach to the Weekend Backpacks for Hungry Kids program. This program has historically provided over 900 backpacks per year filled with donated nutritious food, offering relief from hunger over the weekend when kids do not have access to food at school. The Food Council needed a way to lower or eliminate costs associated with the program this year, while continuing to provide a sustainable system to get much needed food to students. The solution: Our new Verde Valley School Youth Pantry, stocked with donations from the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project, run by the VVS community. Students and faculty gather food donations from the surrounding communities, store and sort them in our pantry, and pack backpacks full of healthy food to donate to kids at our neighbor school, Big Park Elementary.
These programs have been a great success. We have raised over $2,000 for local hunger, prepared full backpacks every weekend for the past six months, and our youth pantry is bursting with donated food. VVS students are proud of their local community for contributing so generously to children in need!