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How donations for summer meals impact Valley children

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Posted at 4:48 AM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 08:17:28-04

Right now, St. Mary's Food Bank is partnering with Phoenix Children's to collect items including tuna, peanut butter, and cereal.

ABC15 took a look into the numbers to show how donations will truly make a difference in the lives of Valley children this summer.

The goal of this food drive is to help those students who rely on getting their breakfast and lunch at school as summer approaches.

St. Mary's Food Bank told ABC15 that they normally receive a big boost from the annual 'Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive,' which is a national campaign where people leave food at their doorstep or in their mailboxes for carriers to pick up and donate.

For the second year in a row, the effort has been canceled due to the pandemic. The campaign provides more than 400,000 pounds of food for St. Mary's every summer.

"We normally receive more than 400,000 pounds of food from that drive," explained Jerry Brown with St. Mary's. "This is the second year in a row that there isn't going to be a Stamp Out Hunger Drive, so Phoenix Children's hospital... who annually does a cereal drive for us, they stepped up and said okay, we will add some of the needed items that you need that you normally get from that drive... peanut butter, tuna... and we'll add that to our drive and we'll open it up to the public."

Feeding America ranked Arizona 9th in the nation as one of the worst spots for projected child food insecurity in 2021 at more than 20%. This is a slight decrease from 2020 when the state was at 21%.

The impact of hunger, beyond health concerns, includes their overall development. Feeding America finds that children who go hungry are more likely to repeat a grade in elementary school, experience developmental impairments in language and motor skills, and have more social and behavioral problems.

Those who want to donate to this effort by St. Mary's Food Bank and Phoenix Children's are asked to bring tuna, peanut butter, and cereal to specially marked donation bins outside St. Mary's locations in Phoenix at 2831 N. 31st Avenue and Surprise at 13050 W. Elm Street. Phoenix Children's is also collecting donations among its hospital staff.

Click here for other ways to donate or volunteer.