Rotary Club of Goodyear PebbleCreek and PebbleCreek’s Kare Bears club recently partnered with students from six West Valley schools April 13-24 to collect more than 4,500 pounds of canned food and to raise $3,100 for the Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank.
The food bank serves the cities of Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield Park and Tonopah, for an approximate total of 50,000 individuals experiencing hunger annually, a Rotary news release stated.
With the demand for food bank services at an all-time high, this multi-faceted partnership engaged leaders of all ages to reduce hunger locally, the release stated. Now in their second year of food drive partnership, Rotary GYPC and Kare Bears grew the effort beyond the active retirement community of PebbleCreek, enlisting eight young leaders ranging from grades three through 10 to coordinate mini-drives in their Goodyear neighborhoods.
Their efforts yielded 25% of the total donations raised during the drive, the release stated.
“I liked making flyers to tell my neighbors about this opportunity. We checked our doorstep for new donations every day,” stated Emery Clymer, a fifth-grader at Mabel Padgett Elementary School in Goodyear.
With the added pressure of increased unemployment due to COVID-19, the need for a successful canned food drive was critical. Arizona ranks fifth in the U.S. for the highest food insecurity rates, the release stated.
“We rely on our community to meet the basic needs of our most vulnerable neighbors,” food bank Executive Director Leanne Leonard said. “This was an easy way to stay home and still help people who don’t have jobs right now,” Ms. Clymer added.
During the drive, Rotary’s Community Service Committee Chair Henry Raczkiewicz managed a diverse team of volunteers. He recognized Kare Bears for its outstanding publicity efforts and students from Agua Fria Union High School District, Litchfield Elementary School District and Palm Valley Montessori for their “exceptional leadership skills and care for their community.”
“We were incredibly blessed to be able to partner with Kare Bears, the PebbleCreek community and our local schools on this very successful endeavor,” he said.
Rotary Club GYPC normally meets at 7 a.m. Wednesdays in PebbleCreek’s Tuscany Falls Clubhouse, but is currently meeting via videoconference to observe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for social distancing. Community members and local businesses interested in learning more about Rotary and guests affiliated with other Rotary Clubs are welcome. For more information, email President-Elect Joan Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-348-9468.