Children’s Feeding Programs

Our vision is to see that no child goes to bed hungry, so they can live healthy and productive lives.
Children’s Feeding Programs

One in three children in Arizona lives in poverty and is at risk of going to bed hungry tonight. Arizona ranks 47th out of 50 states in the number of children who may not know where their next meal is coming from. Our vision is to see that no child goes to bed hungry, so they can live healthy and productive lives. In response to these needs, St. Mary’s Food Bank operates programs that fight child hunger, including Kids Cafe® and the Backpack Program.

Kids Cafe®

This meal-service program provides Arizona children with what is often their last meal of the day. We currently collaborate with more than 60 schools, community centers, churches, and other neighborhood groups to provide more than 3,000 free, healthy meals daily in after-school and summer programs. In addition to the nutritious meals, these programs include recreational components and access to after-school tutoring. Kids Cafe® provides 5,000 meals daily, including 1,000 hot meals, at more than 100 sites throughout the Valley.

Backpack Program

This program provides “chronically hungry” children in Arizona with nonperishable, primarily single-serve and child-friendly meals that kids can take home and eat on weekends when not in school. We currently collaborate with more than 30 schools and community centers to provide nearly 700 backpacks in the Valley as a supplemental food source that is distributed to children each Friday.

How Can You Help Hungry Children?

  • Donate: St. Mary’s Food Bank’s Child Nutrition Programs are expanding to meet the need in our community. To support daily operations for program sustainability and growth, as well as to alleviate food-purchasing, supply, and equipment costs, we ask that you make a donation online.
  • Volunteer: Volunteers are essential to our Child Nutrition Programs. To help prepare meals and assemble backpacks at our Surprise location, contact Volunteer Services at or call (602) 343-5637.
  • Partner: Child Nutrition Program partners host a Kids Cafe® or Backpack Program at qualifying locations to help feed hungry kids. To partner and provide free, healthy meals to kids at risk of hunger, complete this form or contact or call (602) 343-3124.

Child Nutrition Partners