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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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2/16/2014 6:00:00 AM
Local program ensures kids have enough to eat: Camerata Singers, opera soprano, pianist to perform at benefit
Courtesy photoVolunteers with the Hungry Kids project pack two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners every Friday for 376 children in the Prescott, Chino Valley and Humboldt school districts.
Courtesy photo
Volunteers with the Hungry Kids project pack two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners every Friday for 376 children in the Prescott, Chino Valley and Humboldt school districts.
Courtesy photoHungry Kids volunteers assemble packages of food to give to quad-city children in need.
Courtesy photo
Hungry Kids volunteers assemble packages of food to give to quad-city children in need.
Karen Despain
The Daily Courier

Nearly 400 needy children in the quad-city area can leave school for their weekends with enough food to carry them through.

Realizing that too many children in the area who are entitled to government-provided free breakfasts and lunches at school were at risk of going without sufficient food on weekends, the Hungry Kids program, now in its fourth year, formed to confront this problem.

As of now, five teams of volunteers pack two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners every Friday for 376 children in the Prescott, Chino Valley and Humboldt unified school districts to sustain them until they return to school on Monday.

All the food is purchased through donations from the quad-city communities. In order to give the program a financial boost, Hungry Kids organizers are planning a benefit concert that will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave., Prescott.

Performers will include the Camerata Singers, soprano singer Jayne Casselman and concert pianist Lynne Haeseler.

Sue Boyce, one of the 10 a cappella Camerata Singers, said the ensemble has a varied repertoire, including folk, spirituals and vocal jazz melodies.

All the group's songs will be "light music and accessible," she said. "If you are not a musical highbrow, you will still enjoy it. The music will be well done but not stuffy."

The performers in the benefit for Hungry Kids all have high musical credentials, Boyce said.

Casselman performed in many of the outstanding opera houses in Europe for more than 30 years and is now a Prescott resident. Haeseler has been a concert pianist in New York.

Kathy Eiskamp has been a leader of one of the food-packing teams from Hungry Kids' beginning.

The number of children who receive the weekend meals fluctuates, but "is usually going up," Eiskamp said.

"We can only pack food we have money for," she said. All the money raised benefits all three school districts.

"These are kids who are already qualified for the government's free breakfast and lunch programs," she said, "but when they go home there's nothing to eat.

Once the food is packed, the teams take it to the different schools, where school administrators discreetly put it into the children's backpacks.

The food items follow government nutrition requirements, and include milk, juice, fruit and fresh vegetables, Eiskamp said. And "it is all volunteers from the community who pack the food - good-hearted people who don't want to see kids go hungry."

Tickets for the benefit concert are $20 general admission, and $10 for students and seniors. Donations of $50 or more will include prime seating and name recognition in the program. The $50 donation must be received must be received by March 1 for inclusion in the program.

For more information or to buy tickets in advance, call Kathy Eiskamp at 776-5766 or email her at

Those who do not attend the concert may mail donations payable to the Prescott Education Foundation, Prescott Unified District Office, 146 S. Granite St., Prescott AZ 86303. Please put "Hungry Kids" in the check's memo line. All contributions are tax-deductible.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, February 17, 2014
Article comment by: Peace Nik

These judgmental comments make me cringe. You have no idea what is in the mind and heart of another. Why must you spew hatred and prejudice? If YOU aren't involved in these programs, don't contribute food and don't know the facts, it is NOYOB. We each must be accountable for ourselves and our own actions. FACT: child poverty is the worst in the U.S. of all industrialized countries. Look it up! Maybe those Socialistic countries aren't so horrible after all. A little love in the heart helps it to sing so why not let others enjoy this concert and help kids at the same time? Generosity is it's own reward. ...

Posted: Monday, February 17, 2014
Article comment by: Justin Stalls

There is a noticeable absence of children in the photos. Why not have the kids who receive the food WORK for it by packing meals? I worked since I was 12 yrs old. I had no government program to bail me out. ...

Posted: Monday, February 17, 2014
Article comment by: donnie baker

So if these kids indeed have parents that aren't working as a few people suggested in below posts, then that means the parents are receiving food stamps and are more than adequately provided with enough free food to feed their kids already. So the question is Why aren't they? Or maybe they are. These great people doing this for these kids may be just sending food home that is just being thrown away because it is not actually needed. Therefore it is a possible waste of food in itself. I know a gal that has 3 kids all from different dads, and does not work or has spotty employment, she receives $800 in foodstamp comp per month. Thats right i said $800. If these people cant feed their kids with that kind of handout then that means they are giving part or most of their EBT to other friends in exchange for real cash...this stuff is killing the american way people wake up! Sigh

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: Granville Gran

Am I missing something here? Food stamps?

If the poor need them, they get them! However, if they spend the money on trivial things like snacks for themselves, etc, vs nutritious food for their children that will last, this should be addressed.

Packing up bags of food to feed kids in order to enable parents to abuse the system and indirectly their kids simply enables parents to remain bad parents.

The problems will never be solved this way. With all the money spent on social services, you would think there would be enough safeguards in place to make sure kids are fed through federal benefits when received.


Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: Not the kids' fault

These people are only trying to help the kids. It'll take a lot more than telling the parents to get off their butts and get a job to make them change. Our entire society is going to Hell in a handbasket, but it's politically incorrect to say that a return to God and His laws would help. Quit grousing and get out there and help someone.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: F Lora

These programs are one more step down the road to communism. Parents be accountable!

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: open book

I re-read the article and didn't see any mention that this was a program for children of unemployed parents. I know plenty of families with working parents that still struggle to put food on the table. Since I don't know the families' circumstances, I will refrain from making a judgment on them. I do appreciate the humanitarian efforts of this program to care for the less fortunate.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: @open book

"Would you prefer the children go hungry, or beg, or resort to stealing?"

I would prefer the parents get off thier lazy butts and go get a job. They should hurry, before the Libs legalize 11 million illegal immigrants and the jobs go bye-bye.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: Casual Observer

I think we need to get CPS involved with the "parents" who won't provide 2 meals per day on the weekends. How far does society go to allow "parents" to keep custody of children they won't feed? Dare to spank your kid or hold on to them as they try to push passed you and go out the door and you'll get the attention of CPS all day long. But don't feed them and, no problem.

It's not like a once-in-a-while thing with many such "parents". Sure, a crisis can hit any family and they'll need some help. But why do some people pretend that all we need to do is bag up some meals for the weekend and everything will be o.k.? If there are that many "parents" who, let alone won't feed their children during the school week, but all weekend long too, WHAT ELSE is going wrong in those households?

I don't want any liberal types misconstruing what I'm saying: I believe in helping families in need, especially the kids. I want to see that happen and have supported such causes my own home. But let's get real here for a moment. If there are truly "parents" who, on a repeated basis, will not provide basic meals for their kids on the weekends, some further action needs to be taken besides just putting a little band-aid on the gaping wound week after week.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: open book

To Alan: This appears to be a privately funded project, just the thing you espouse would replace government funded projects. These good people are giving of their own generosity. Why are you so bitter? Would you prefer the children go hungry, or beg, or resort to stealing?

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: Paul S

My generation would be embaressed to have someone else feed my child, this generation thinks its just an entitlement. where has all the dignity gone ?

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: S Campis

Courier, you should have turned off the comments for this one. BTW, thanks for turning off the comments on other articles. I'm a 40 year resident of this area, and I'm dismayed at the low character of a lot of newcomers (like the last 10 years) who have brought their prejudices with them to the Prescott area and these comments. Elsewhere in the Courier is the article of Mr. Wolfinger and his remembrances of Prescott in the 50s and the 60s. We moved here in the early 70s and while we didn't have social media or even computers, I don't quite remember people being so mean to other people. There might have been letters to the editor of this paper but you couldn't hide behind an anonymous name. Everyone knew each other. I certainly do mourn the old days. And wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Wolfinger in that this area has brought in people with wealth and while not all of them are holier than thou, I think a lot of them are. You just have to look at the bunch that hang around here in the comment section. So sad...

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: Jay Stevens

This article is almost humorous.....almost. Enough food is already discarded in each of the area's school cafeterias to feed dozens if not more. Having worked in schools for years, I have observed so much waste, both by students, who take it all for granted, to kitchens, who fear lawsuits and discard anything not fresh that day. If the public was aware of this, there would be outrage at the waste. Now this. Oh, it's from donated sources, so taxes are not being used. But Miss Nanny is so pleased.......

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

The Welfare State motto:

"Get 'em while they're young."

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