At-risk kids in Salt Lake City get food donations with help from pro golfer Tony Finau

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Karina Lugo Villalba delivers bags of food to parents who have students at Backman Elementary School. PGA Tour golfer Tony Finau is joining a nonprofit called For The Kids to deliver meals and other supplies to Utah’s most at-risk kids, to ensure they eat while schools are closed. Monday, March 30, 2020.

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For the next five weeks, nearly 500 of Utah’s at-risk kids won’t be going hungry while their schools remain closed in the coronavirus crisis.

Professional golfer and Utah native Tony Finau has joined with the hunger-fighting charity For the Kids to deliver meals and hygiene kits to families with students at Backman and Liberty elementary schools, located on Salt Lake City’s west side.

The first batch of meal kits, funded with help from the Tony Finau charitable foundation, were delivered Monday to families as they rolled by Backman Elementary in a line of cars.

Finau, the first golfer of Pacific Islander descent to compete in the PGA Tour and a former Backman alumni, said the donations would help ease the strain felt by many families forced into self-isolation by COVID-19 and recent stay-at-home orders meant to help contain it.

“Our hope is that by taking care of and helping these kids and their families, they will get the nourishment they need and feel the spirit of love and community that makes Salt Lake City, and the whole state of Utah, a great place to call home,” Finau said in a statement.

Backman principal Heather Newell said in a statement: “These families don’t have the means to stock up on food and supplies. They don’t have money to buy necessities, let alone fill their cart.”

Inspired in part by Finau’s involvement in the campaign, several Utah businesses have also joined the effort. Kodiak Cakes of Park City is donating breakfast items, after the bakery’s employees gave up some of their bonuses to participate. Sysco Intermountain, a food-services supplier, made one of the largest donations of fresh food to the cause that For the Kids has ever seen, a spokeswoman said.

The Philoptochos Society, the charitable arm of the Greek Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City, has given poultry and meat to the cause.