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The children that play with your kids at school or the ones that live down the street might be going to bed hungry.

"One-in-four children in Arizona is currently living in poverty, which translates to the fifth-highest rate in the nation," said Pastor Bob Fesmire from Christ's Church of the Valley (CCV).

"We found out that 600,000 students are receiving free or reduced meals, breakfast and lunch, at school," he said. "Then we started hearing about teachers who were filling backpacks for the weekend because the kids weren't getting those meals because school's out."

According to church officials, when school lets out for winter break, these children will have to go without adequate nourishment. For that reason, CCV is collecting food for the Family to Family community service project to provide food for the two-week winter break to 4,000 families whose children participate in free- and reduced-meal plans at schools across the Valley.

The church is working with the Deer Valley, Dysart, Paradise Valley, Peoria and Scottsdale school districts, all of which are located in close proximity with one of the three CCV campuses.

"Within these districts, CCV is providing food to every school that has 75 percent or more of their enrollment receiving free or reduced meals," said Fesmire.

CCV will continue to collecting boxes of food through Dec. 16. Those who want to participate can stop by any one of the church campuses in Peoria, Scottsdale and Surprise. Those interested in participating in this project can pick up a box and fill it up with just 23 items.

A comprehensive list of what is most needed is available at

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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