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AZ Candidates Asked to Focus on Children's Issues

PHOTO: The Children's Action Alliance is calling on political candidates in Arizona to focus on hunger and other issues affecting kids as they seek office in the general election this November. Photo credit: Pima County Public Library.
September 19. 2014
PHOTO: The Children's Action Alliance is calling on political candidates in Arizona to focus on hunger and other issues affecting kids as they seek office in the general election this November. Photo credit: Pima County Public Library.

PHOENIX - As election season kicks into high gear in Arizona, there are calls for political candidates to focus on children's issues. Julie Bacon is a consultant with Children's Action Alliance, which is sponsoring an event in Scottsdale today promoting the "Healthy Packs" program. She says 10 candidates from three legislative districts will learn more about the program that helps feed hungry students when they're not at school.

"Healthy Packs is a program in the Scottsdale Unified School District that provides packages of food for kids who have limited access, or little access to food on the weekends, and who primarily get their nutrition through meals served at school," Bacon says.

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows from 2011 to 2013, 16 percent of Arizonans were food insecure, meaning they don't always have enough food to eat. Research shows children who do not get enough regular nutrition have significantly higher levels of behavioral, emotional and academic problems.

While the economy has recovered in much of the state and nation, Bacon says hunger continues to be a major problem for many families in Arizona. She's hopeful voters will call on political candidates to explain their positions on childhood hunger and other issues affecting kids.

"We want candidates who will look at those issues critically," she says. "Wanting voters to ask questions that will give them an understanding of where the candidates stand on children's issues."

Today's event is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. at Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center in Scottsdale.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ