Caring Coalition Launched in Arizona in 2013

Arizona is tied for 5th highest rate of overall food insecurity in the U.S., and one in four children in Arizona struggles with hunger. In Arizona, one million children depend on free or reduced cost school lunches for their nourishment, but are left without this assistance on the weekends.

Caring Coalition was started as a community effort to provide food and support to neighboring families in need, specifically school-aged children who are going without adequate food on weekends. Caring Coalition steps in to offer care packages composed of snacks children can easily open and eat while home on the weekends. They aim to provide these children and families with healthful and appealing food choices.

The mission of the Caring Coalition is to support the health of local Phoenix families, and this support is extended to family members of all ages. They serve whomever needs to be served–utilizing local schools to connect with and identify those in need. In addition to weekend food care packages, they hold food drives for individual families who need extra supplies over a long school break or holiday.

Currently, the Caring Coalition serves Emerson Elementary School and North High School. They feed on average 90 students per week, and have distributed over 10,000 weekend care packages to date.

For children who rely on school lunches for the majority of their sustenance, the weekends can be a difficult time. Our weekend food program provides a bag of healthful, easy to open, prepared snacks to children who are going without adequate food on weekends.

​Typical weekend care packages include items such as protein bars, apple sauce, fruit strips, bananas or apples, milk, juice, and other kid-friendly and appealing snacks to get them through the weekend.

In addition to weekend care packages, Caring Coalition partners with North High School in maintaining a food bank on the school premises. This provides an opportunity for Careers Students to learn about managing a business, by sorting and organizing incoming food and packing boxes to send to families. Local businesses, individuals and other non-profits donate to make this a vibrant and well-stocked resource. Donation collection boxes are located at Yoga PhoenixBeat It Bakery & Coffee and Sunshine Market.

The Caring Coalition is powered by a local group of loyal volunteers that help purchase and package food for care packages, help setup and run fundraisers and collect and transport donated goods.

Visit the Caring Coalition Website for More Info

You can contact the Caring Coalition at: caringcoalitionaz@gmail.com

 

Click Here to Donate to the Caring Coalition

Sat Kaur Shares the Story of How the Caring Coalition Began

I was in Espanola in November of 2013 to attend a dear friend’s graduation. She was excited about a coat drive she was conducting for kids at the local schools, her way of celebrating her birthday.  In addition, she was very involved in the backpack food program that the Espanola Sadh Sangat had been conducting for years.

I was inspired by her example and visited the school at the end of my street when I got home. The principal and social worker made time to meet with me then and there. They said that there was need for better nutrition for most of their students.  It was decided that I would deliver food for five children every week, a number I could manage by myself.

That evening, while having dinner with a friend, I mentioned my visit to the school.  She was so excited that she could not sleep that night. Within a week she had collected over $400 from friends for this purpose. Within one month’s time she had created an amazing website, a Paypal account and a Facebook page. We were up and running! Other Phoenix Sangat members got involved.  We decided to call our effort the Caring Coalition.

The Phoenix ashram community gave us our kick-start in the spring of 2014, with a unique fundraiser.  A very generous Sadhana-going couple offered to pay a $10 donation for every individual that showed up for any part of morning Sadhana. The event ran from March 1 to Baisakhi 2014, a 44-day Sadhana-thon. Over $2,000 was raised in this way. Sadhana attendance went up too!

This fund raiser allowed us to sail along with donations coming in at just the right time for many months. In November, we started soliciting corporate sponsorships, applying for grants and requesting donations from grocery stores. These things required patience. I watched our cupboard grow bare as we waited for funding.

One day I was talking to a friend about the 400 children in need of weekend food at the school we were working with. We were serving 30 children weekly. We did the math and realized that each child in need was only receiving food every 15 weeks.

She said, “Tell the Universe you have 400 children to feed. Let go of any reservations you have about providing this service and the Universe will answer you.”

The next night I decided I had to go out and buy food. This is usually pretty enjoyable, but with less than $300 left in our account, I was definitely concerned. The phrase, “flying in on a wing and prayer” went through my mind. And so, that evening on my way home from the store, I put all my trust in the Universe and waited to see if my prayers had been heard.

The next morning the phone rang as I was on my way out the door. It was a friend from the ashram community.  She said, “I want to donate $550 to the Caring Coalition. How do I do that? ”

I knew at that moment that the Universe, Guru Ram Das and the Divine Mother had heard my prayers and had chosen the perfect messenger to deliver their response.

Visit the Caring Coalition Website for More Info

You can contact the Caring Coalition at: caringcoalitionaz@gmail.com

 

Click Here to Donate to the Caring Coalition


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