Arizona has the third highest rate of food insecurity among Western states with Tucson highlighted as a problem area.

One nonprofit is providing affordable meals to students and their families while teaching them how to cook at the same time.

More than 100,000 people in Pima County are struggling with food insecurity.

The Tucson Family Food Project is providing meals in a unique way, hoping to make a long-term impact.

5.3 ounces of salad mix,” Steven Cota-Robles says in a YouTube tutorial.

It’s a cooking tutorial that comes with the $4 meal kits students can bring home.

Every kit we give feeds at least four people because we’re trying to feed the household and not just the child, said Cota-Robles.

His hope is to have families bond.

The first time I saw it, it made my eyes water,” said Cota-Robles when looking at a picture of a student cooking.

“Our goal is to feed kids. But we don’t want to stop there by feeding them one meal. We have a long term goal, where we actually want to teach kids how to feed themselves,” said Cota-Robles.

Steven Cota-Robles is the founder of the non-profit that stresses the importance of making sure students are fed when they go home from school.

“I talked to some friends who are teachers and administrators, and they gave me this idea, after they told me what food insecurity looks like in real life for these kids. And it’s really heartbreaking,” said Cota-Robles.

Feeding more than 100 families a week this school year, Cota-Robles is hoping to expand their mission.

“My long term goal for the Tucson Family Food Project is to be a foundational charity in Tucson, the way that the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona is a foundational charity here in Tucson,” he said.

Preparing for next school year, their goal this summer is to keep the conversation going on tackling food insecurity in Tucson.

“We’re going to kind of try this summer to just show that and highlight what we’re doing and create a campaign where we raise awareness all throughout Tucson, and I think by the end of the summer, hopefully there won’t be anybody who has not heard of the Tucson Family Food Project,” he said.

The nonprofit is looking for the following items:

Frying pans (preferably non-stick)  Sauce pans of all sizes  Roasting pans  Baking sheets Colanders  Wooden spoons  Spatulas  Mixing bowls  Kitchen towels

Items can be donated to the Ward 6 office, 3202 E. First St.

For more information on the organization, visit