Food bank at elementary school supports children's learning - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Food bank at elementary school supports children's nutrition, learning

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PHOENIX -

Studies show it's tough for students to learn reading, writing and arithmetic when they're hungry and their stomachs are growling.

That's part of the reason there's a free food pantry right on the campus of a Phoenix elementary school.

"We have a lot of kids in this community who are hungry in the evenings and hungry on the weekends," says Nathan Watts, assistant city prosecutor, City of Phoenix.

No child should be trying to do homework when they're hungry, that's the reason for the free food pantry at Moya Elementary School. The pantry is right on the campus.

"It's a community food pantry along with Bags of Hope, which are weekly bags of nutritious food nonperishables that are placed in the students' backpacks on Friday," says Linda Washington, Director of Parent Education.

The school runs the "Bags of Hope" program with help from the nonprofit group "Kitchen On The Street."

"It helps us in the long run, because when we have happy healthy kids we have better achievement."

They help 500 families every month during the school year. Students get enough food to last thru the weekend, a time when they don't have access to subsidized school lunches.

"Six healthy meals for a child for a weekend, so it's enough food for one child for the weekend. We started off by distributing those every Friday," says Watts.

The assistant city prosecutor is involved with supporting children's nutrition, so students can learn and remain in school instead of turning to crime later on.

"I think it's a vital program for this community, it meets an important need for the children of the community and the parents of the community."

"This is something our community needs so why not continue it if it's benefiting our students," says Dezzy Ruiz, principal of Moya Elementary.

The "Bags of Hope" program has been helping Moya Elementary students and their families for three years now.

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