Consistent with the Junior League of Phoenix (JLP) focus area of Health and Nutrition, JLP partnered with Desert Mission Food Bank to promote and expand its Snack Pac Backpack Program. This program began in 2006 in response to various staff from area schools sharing their observations that there were a significant number of children who were going hungry on the weekends, returning to school on Mondays unable to concentrate and perform well in the classroom due to hunger and malnutrition. Each Friday, Snack Pacs are distributed to under-resourced kids on the free breakfast and lunch program; the Snack Pacs includes a backpack full of kid-friendly food and enough food for the student and any siblings in the household.
The goals of the Desert Mission / JLP partnership for the Snack Pac Backpack program included:
- Increasing program visibility
- Increasing the number of backpacks available
- Allowing food bank to save emergency fund reserves
JLP’s involvement includee volunteerism, in-kind donations, and financial contributions. The volunteer opportunities included a monthly packing event open to JLP members, while the in-kind donations were generated through Done in a Night and corporate food drives. JLP made an annual financial grant to Desert Mission Food Bank designated to purchasing the items needed to supplement donations for the Snack Pak program.
During the 2012 / 2013 league year, JLP collected over 1800 pounds of food through food drive efforts and Done in a Night activities. With $8,000 contributed to Desert Mission Food Bank from JLP, the program was able to distribute 25,500 pounds of food.
With the contributions from JLP, Desert Mission Food Bank distributed 40,352 Snack Pacs to 22 schools over the 2012 / 2013 school year.