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Pack the House with Kitchen on the Street and the D-backs 6

Packing the House at D-Backs Fan Fest

Fan Fest is a BIG DEAL for fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The free event, which gives fans unprecedented access to players, coaches, alumni and broadcasters, is estimated to draw 25,000 D-Backs fans to Chase Field. This year we were lucky enough to have our first “Pack the House” packing party with Kitchen on the Street on the Chase Field Plaza, during Fan Fest!

Nearly 50 volunteers from UnitedHealthcare spent two hours packing Bags of Hope, which contain kid-friendly food such as fruit snacks, pretzels and fruit cups. Thousands of children received reduced-price meals during the school week, but do not get enough nourishment over the weekend. The Bags of Hope are intended to bridge the missing meal gap and are given to underserved children who do not have access to school lunch programs during the weekend.

“I had so much fun at this volunteer project. Besides helping the cause, I met new friends and saw old friends. This was very rewarding,” said Clarissa Miller, disease management supervisor, UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans.

Because of the Packing Party’s prime location on the Chase Field Plaza, a lot of people stopped to ask us what we were doing on their way into Fan Fest. Lisa Scarpinato, CEO of Kitchen on the Street shared the following story about one woman who stopped by:

“A woman named Cheryl was one of the many folks who asked what we were doing as she walked past the Packing Party. As it turns out Cheryl was homeless for a long time, but recently got housing. She is awaiting assistance and currently has no income so I gave her a Bag of Hope. I can imagine how hard it must have been to walk into an event like that, share your story and walk out with food.”

Not only did our prime location on the Plaza let us spread the word about what we were doing, but it also put us in the right place at the right time to help Cheryl. All of our volunteers who witnessed the interaction between her and Lisa undoubtedly left the volunteer project feeling good that had witnessed social responsibility in action.

Following the Packing Party at Chase Field a few volunteers followed Kitchen on the Street’s U-Haul to ACYR, a charter school that participates in the Bags of Hope program, to help deliver the meals.

“I could really sense the purpose behind Pack the House as I worked alongside colleagues from UnitedHealthcare and representatives from Kitchen on the Street. I am thankful I had the opportunity to help out at the D-Backs stadium, and later at the school and then the warehouse. It truly felt like we were a team,” said Krystal Newey, military enrollment representative, UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans.

Over the course of three packing parties our volunteers will “Pack the House” to provide 49,000 meals for children in need – one meal for each seat at Chase Field. At Fan Fest alone we packed 21,600 meals towards our goal. Since 2013 UnitedHealthcare, the D-Backs and Kitchen on the Street have partnered to provide more than 150,000 meals for hungry kids.

Courtney Johnson is a social responsibility program manager at UnitedHealthcare.

Click here to see pictures from this project.

About Kitchen on the Street
Kitchen on the Street began serving the community in 2007 when the Scarpinato family learned about the prevalence of food insecurity in local Arizona children. Hearing that thousands of children that received breakfast and lunch at school but were going hungry on weekends compelled Vince, Lisa and Taylor Scarpinato to found Kitchen on the Street as a means of bringing food and hope to children in need. In 2007 Kitchen on the Street was limited to one program to serve the hungry children of Phoenix, a food backpack program providing shelf stable meals and snacks to food insecure children. As a volunteer driven faith based non-profit organization, KOS relies on the community to meet the needs of the hungry and hurting. Thanks to the generosity of individuals, business owners and corporations in providing faithful volunteers and provisional funding, various programs are available throughout Arizona and in 2011 the Bags of Hope program began in San Antonio, Texas.

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