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Food insecurity above U.S. average

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Pack the House with Kitchen on the Street and the D-backs 14

Reaching Our “Pack The House” Goal

Arizona Diamondbacks staff and UnitedHealthcare employees finished their joint “Pack the House” initiative on Wednesday night, Aug. 24, 2016, which provided 49,000 meals for children in need – one meal for each seat at Chase Field.

Volunteers packed food to support Kitchen on the Street’s Bags of Hope program – aimed at fighting childhood hunger – during the D-Backs game. This is the fourth year of the partnership among Kitchen on the Street, the D-Backs and UnitedHealthcare, which has resulted in nearly 200,000 meals for hungry children in the Valley.

Thousands of children receive reduced-price meals during the school week but do not get enough nourishment over the weekend. Bags of Hope provides nutritious, kid-friendly meals and snacks for underserved children who do not have access to school lunch programs during the weekend.

This was the final “packing party” in a series of three volunteer projects designed to meet the goal of packing 49,000 meals. Other volunteer projects took place Feb. 20 and April 25.

“UnitedHealthcare is proud of the work we’ve done with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Kitchen on the Street over the past four years,” said Joe Gaudio, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona. “It is an honor to work with these great partners to give children access to fresh, nutritious food and help them live healthier lives.”

According to America’s Health Rankings, nearly one in nine high school students in Arizona are considered obese. There is a direct correlation between obesity and hunger due to the limited availability of healthy food options. Households with limited resources often try to stretch their food budgets by purchasing inexpensive, energy-dense and filling foods.

“Helping to solve hunger issues in the Valley is something that is very important to the Arizona Diamondbacks organization,” said Derrick Hall, president and CEO, Arizona Diamondbacks. “We are proud to partner with past Grand Slam Award recipient Kitchen on the Street and UnitedHealthcare to help fight childhood hunger.”

Earlier this season, the Arizona Diamondbacks and its charitable arm, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, surpassed $45 million in combined donations since its inception in 1998, including more than $3.8 million in 2015.

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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