United Way expanding anti-hunger program

Posted at 1:13 PM, May 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 01:27:19-04
Schools out for Valley students, but the United Way is looking ahead to next year. This school year the non-profit helped 12,000 Valley students start the day off with a full stomach through Breakfast in the Classroom. The program provides tools to bring grab-and-go meals for students into the classroom.  
"We used to feed the kids in the cafeteria. They'd have to come to breakfast before school actually started and most of them were happier playing with their friends, so with Breakfast in the Classroom we feed nearly all the students," Cartwright School District Director Of Food Services Diane Gruman said.
Items like fruit, donuts, juice and milk are dropped off at each room before the students arrive. The kids then grab what they want and start eating while class starts.  Local schools in which at least 85 percent of kids get free and reduced rate lunches qualify to take part.
"They typically have not only a blend of high need within that school, but also that willingness to say yes we want to start that program," said Jayson Matthews, Director of Ending Hunger at Valley of the Sun United Way.
The United Way hopes to raise $444,000 to fund 111 more schools. A one-time investment of $4,000 is needed to fund each additional school.  
“One of the great things about this program is that the one-time funds are used for capital expenses and technical assistance to launch Breakfast in the Classroom,” he said. “Once a school has the infrastructure in place, federal funds help provide ongoing support to these schools where hunger and poverty is prevalent.”
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The organization is trying to add 111 more schools to their ending hunger program.