Young people giving boost to annual Jones food drive
Dave Perry/The Explorer, Getting ready for this Saturday's food collection Bag-a-Thon, to benefit the food bank at Interfaith Community Services, are, in the front row, Copper Creek fifth-grade student Justin Northam; in the second row, Canyon Del Oro's Kiley Hunt, Immaculate Heart's Marcus Landeros, and Ironwood Ridge students Holly Durr and Molly Hansen; in the third row, Immaculate Heart's Maggie Etheridge, Oro Valley Councilwoman Mary Snider, Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath and Edward Jones adviser and Bag-a-Thon organizer Ken Blanchard; and in the back from left, Edward Jones adviser Rudy Graf, Austin Franklin of CDO, Councilman Lou Waters and Edward Jones adviser Joe Dylewski.

Youthful energy is spurring the fourth annual Edward Jones Bag a Thon to new volumes of food for the needy.

The drive, being conducted this Saturday, Nov. 13, at greater Tucson Edward Jones offices, is picking up momentum from students toward a goal of 20,000 pounds — 10 tons — of non-perishable items for the Interfaith Community Services food bank.

Eighteen Edward Jones offices, the Town of Oro Valley and four schools — Ironwood Ridge High School, Canyon Del Oro High School, Copper Creek Elementary School and Immaculate Heart School — are accepting, and generating, donations.

At Copper Creek Elementary School in Oro Valley, "lots" of food has been gathered in classroom boxes, according to fifth-grade student Justin Northam.

Immaculate Heart School has a goal of 4,000 pounds. Students Marcus Landeros and Maggie Etheridge report the total collection is being split between two organizations, Interfaith Community Services and the Casas Maria Soup Kitchen.

Canyon Del Oro High School students are collecting "as much as we can," reports junior Kiley Hunt. She and classmate Austin Franklin say students are gathering food outside grocery stores and in the school building.

Grocery store collection is also the tactic of Ironwood Ridge High School student government officers, who have a goal to receive 20,000 pounds of food themselves. Molly Hansen and Holly Durr, both sophomores, say the drive is going "really well." They collected food at Friday night's Ironwood Ridge home football game, offering free Homecoming shirts to people who brought five canned goods. There is also a competition among English classes at the high school, with a watermelon Eegee's spree for the winning class.

The students represent "the new generations of young people already with a consciousness about helping others," said Ken Blanchard, the Edward Jones adviser who is coordinating the efforts from his La Cañada and Lambert location.

The Oro Valley Public Library is gathering canned goods. Cub Scout Pack 209 is conducting a food drive in Oro Valley. Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath has challenged town employees to give. Hiremath and council members Lou Waters and Mary Snider were at a photo shoot Thursday, thanking and encouraging the students who are trying to help people in need.

That need is great, and expanding, according to Bonnie Kampa, executive director at ICS.

Fourth annual Edward Jones Bag a Thon

Saturday, Nov. 13

8 a.m. to noon

Non-perishable items requested

Edward Jones offices throughout greater Tucson are collecting food. Ken Blanchard is centralizing donations at the Edward Jones office at 10355 N. La Cañada, Suite 181, in Oro Valley. At that location, breakfast is being donated by Caffé Torino.

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