The Arizona State Department of Education has presented its 2006 Desert Oasis Award to the Amado Branch of the Community Food Bank for its summer meals program for children. During the summer vacation break, the Amado Food Bank served 25,000 meals to children at 7 different locations around Ajo, Amado, Arivaca, and Sahuarita. Last summer the Amado Food Bank served 11,000 more meals than the year before.
In presenting the award, Tom Horne, Arizona State Superintendent of Education said “the Community Food Bank provided cutting edge leadership in how a non profit organization can partner with schools to help children succeed.”
The rural areas of Pima County represent some of the highest rates of poverty in the state. For many children in the area, the only nutritious daily meal they enjoy is lunch during the school year. The Amado Food Bank meets a critical need during the summer when school is not in session.
The meals are prepared at the Amado kitchen and driven to the various sites in Cambros to keep the meals warm. Volunteers pick up the children and bring them to the various sites. For some volunteers that represents a 270 mile round trip from Ajo to Amado.
Partnering with the Food Bank on the program are the USDA, Pima County, the Arizona Department of Education and the Arizona Nutrition Network.
It is the 4th straight year that Amado has received the prestigious award from the Department of Education. Rural Development Liaison Tony Bruno attended an annual Education Department meeting in Phoenix to accept the honor.