PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- The Valley non-profit Homeless Engagement Lift Partnership is working to help homeless families in Arizona. They are teaming up with Feed the Children and Christ's Church of the Valley to feed families in need.
A new report says Arizona has the 14th largest homeless population in the country.
"Last week we gave out over 200 boxes of toiletries and food boxes that served 1,000 families. Today we are doing same thing and we'll reach about 900 families," said Michael Rapaport, the co-founder of Homeless Engagement and Lift Partnership.
The pandemic is making things even worse for those who are homeless. "It is a massive problem and it had been increasing every year and it's compounded with the COVID virus and students not being able to get to schools and get the foods they are normally given: a breakfast and a lunch," Rapaport said. "The pandemic has made things even worse because public transport , how they get around is limited to begin with. So the resources they would get at school, a shelter or other relief organizations... have been limited simply because of pandemic itself."
It's estimated one in four children are going hungry because of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Before COVID-19, that number was one in seven.
Rapaport said the families receiving this help are so thankful. "They feel it's a blessing. Truly they are very grateful for the food and hygiene supplies they get," Rapaport said. "We are very grateful and blessed for things.
"It's of great importance to get out there and help as many as we can," he continued.
Homeless Engagement and Lift Partnership's goal is to be in every Maricopa County school by 2022 and every school in Arizona by 2024.
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