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- Proverbs 3:5-6
April 2024
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United Food Bank Awarded $100,000 By The Cigna Group Foundation
By Claire Natale - Wednesday Jul 19, 2023
United Food Bank is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded a $100,000 grant by The Cigna Group Foundation’s Healthier Kids For Our Future initiative for a special school pantry program at Holdeman Elementary School in Tempe. This fresh food distribution program has continued to develop and grow throughout the past three years thanks to The Cigna Group’s continuous annual funding.

The Holdeman Food Pantry is a family school market program developed to support students, their families, and nearby residents through the creation of a neighborhood market that allows them to shop for their needs. The pantry is set up on campus and is now fully equipped with coolers, freezers and shelving to provide families with access to fresh food options and non-perishable goods.

98% of Holdemans’ student population qualifies for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. This food distribution provides parents with the opportunity to pick up groceries at the same time they pick up their children from school.

“Families in the community are struggling to make ends meet as food and gas prices continue to rise,” said the CEO and President of United Food Bank Jason Reed. “We are proud to partner with Holdeman Elementary School to provide family-friendly food items. Thank you to The Cigna Group Foundation for their support in bringing this school program to life.”

During the pandemic, Holdeman staff quickly adapted the program to a drive-thru model, providing produce, protein, dairy, and more each month. Now, the market is able to expand its food distribution and be accessible during the summer months.

“I am so proud of the immense positive impact the Holdeman Food Pantry has made for our community,” said Dr. Jeff Shores, the principal of Holdeman Elementary School. “When families visit the pantry, we can have one-on-one conversations about their needs and best discuss how the food pantry can help fulfill those needs. That is when the true impact of the food pantry is revealed.”

The family school market was primarily designed with students in mind. It gives them the opportunity to participate in the operations of the pantry program and help them gain knowledge of fundamental business principles through the guidance of teachers, staff and The Cigna Group Foundation volunteers.

“There is a direct correlation between proper nutrition and a child’s ability to learn and grow,” said Pete Chuchro, the risk and underwriting director of Cigna Arizona. “This program not only has an immediate, positive impact on the students and their families, it puts them on a path to improved health and vitality. We’re proud to support this initiative and help increase access to nutritious food for Mesa-area families.”

If you are part of the Holdeman Elementary community and would like to learn more about the Holdeman Food Pantry, contact (480) 966-9934 or visit our website at

Since 1983, United Food Bank has been dedicated to providing hunger relief to people in the East Valley and eastern Arizona. As a member of Feeding America, our food bank collects, acquires, stores, and distributes food to 150 partner agencies and programs in five counties, serving over two million Arizonans. Our efforts result in the distribution of more than 21.6 million pounds of food each year, equating to 50,000 meals a day. Our mission of uniting communities to alleviate hunger is achieved through the hard work of volunteers, agency partners, and donors who join us each day. For more information about our mission and ways to help, please visit us at