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'Champion for Childhood Hunger' David Schwake dies from COVID-19

David Schwake
Posted at 6:20 AM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 09:30:05-05

PHOENIX — While hospitalizations are down, people are still losing their lives to COVID-19. One of the latest victims is David Schwake, known as a champion for children and fighting hunger.

“There is no bigger champion for childhood hunger than David Schwake," said President of Arizona Food Bank Network Angie Rogers.

ABC15 spoke with numerous nonprofit leaders about the difference Schwake made in the community. He served more than 20 years as Food Service Director for the Litchfield Elementary School District.

David Schwake

“He would come out dressed like a carrot. Understanding that connection and humanizing it and making it fun," said Executive Director for Pinnacle Prevention Adrienne Udarbe. "He just really got that and understood feeding kids healthy was about that connection."

While Schwake retired, friends say he never slowed down.

"That's why, I think everybody in every facet of school nutrition or food banks that knows him, it just feels (like) an incredible sense of loss," said Patricia Johnson, Vice President of Nutrition Services for Fuel Up to Play 60. "It's a huge void to fill."

Schwake volunteered his time at food banks across the Valley and sat on a handful of nonprofit boards. He was even recognized nationally for his work to put a stop to childhood hunger.

“There’s nothing that I haven’t done in the past 30 years that he hasn’t shown up and been a part of," said Cindy Gentry, President of Sun Produce Cooperative, where Schwake served as a board treasurer.

“Even during COVID when in his own high-risk category, he was taking meals to children who were disabled, who could not get to school," Rodgers said. "Taking meals to their homes to make sure they got fed.”

But among all of his accomplishments, Schwake was also a husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

“He knew how important the community was to him," Rogers said. "I would never say how he was to the community because that’s not how David saw himself."