Young volunteers help feed the hungry at United Food Bank in Mesa

The United Food Bank has put out a call for volunteers after facing a post-holiday slump, and now they want everyone to know that people of all ages can help make a difference.

Younger volunteers can be seen rolling up their sleeves and filling emergency food bags to help out the community.

"If there's an older kid that can help them, they can help load the bags so the little ones don't have to carry it," said Tyson Nansel, vice president of the United Food Bank in Mesa.

Kids ages 5 to 18 can volunteer with permission from a parent or guardian.

"One in four kids in Arizona are struggling with hunger, so it's important that these kids learn that it could be a neighbor, [or] someone they are sitting next to at school or playing with at the playground," Nansel said. "They could be struggling with hunger, and the feeling of hunger is just sad. It hurts. You can't really think."

A special volunteer shift was created so kids can come after school - two hours, from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.

The emergency food bags the kids pack are handed out to 200 partnering agencies in the east Valley and eastern Arizona. 26,000 are provided each month, so the food bank needs a lot of help to fill that demand.

"It's great because not only do they help on that day, but a lot of these families are returning and helping again, and thats what's important," Nansel said. "The kids are learning that the virus of hunger is real, and its important to help out." 

It's a job well done and a lesson learned - one the kids say will stay with them for a long time.

"I think they should do it because it's super fun and you help people," said one volunteer.

If you'd like to volunteer, check our their website:

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