The Pima County Public Library has been providing afterschool snacks for children under 18, ensuring access to healthy food options even during the holiday season.

The program operates across 10 library branches in Pima County each weekday throughout the school year. The Eckstrom-Columbus branch distributes more than 40 of those snacks to children in need.

Christine Russell, assistant manager at Eckstrom-Columbus Library, expressed the library’s dedication to the cause, stating, “It feels good to just give out food.”

Russell plays a pivotal role in daily distributions, emphasizing the diverse backgrounds of those benefiting from the program.

“Theres that element of wanting to make sure people have enough to eat, but we see people from all walks of life take advantage of it when they come in,” Russell said.

During the summer, partnerships with the Arizona Department of Education, the USDA, and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona expand the initiative to include breakfast and lunch.

“Were really reliant on the community food bank, and they get grants to make sure that we get enough food,” Russell explained.

The library’s outreach goes beyond the age limit of 18, with Russell stating, “If we do have extras, we hold onto them and just hand them out to the public, and so it just is something that even more people than can take advantage of.”

The Pima County Public Library remains steadfast in its mission. Russell emphasized, “Well, theres no end in sight; this is what we continue to do.”