An Edward Jones food drive for Interfaith Community Services has grown into a multiple office, school and community effort to collect 20,000 pounds — 10 tons — of non-perishable items for needy people on Saturday, Nov. 13.

In greater Tucson, 18 Edward Jones offices are joining the Town of Oro Valley, the Town of Marana and four schools — Ironwood Ridge High School, Canyon Del Oro High School, Copper Creek Elementary School and Immaculate Heart School — in gathering food.

Students at each school are conducting their own food drives, then bringing their quantities to the Edward Jones' office at Lambert and La Cañada in Oro Valley for packaging.

Those schools represent "the new generations of young people already with a consciousness about helping others," said Ken Blanchard, the Edward Jones financial adviser and founder of the Edward Jones Bag a Thon, now in its fourth year.

Blanchard has been talking to community, government and school leaders about the importance of giving back, particularly in challenging financial times. "We started with 2,000 pounds in 2007, and four years later, our goal is 10 times that: 20,000 pounds, and if possible more," Blanchard said. "That is why during the last few days I've been getting the word out, talking to many people, and trying to make them understand what this amount of food means to the ones in need."

"The number of families accessing the ICS food bank are breaking records," said Bonnie Kampa, executive director of ICS. "There is an increase in food demand compared to last year, and donations are down, which creates a challenge when it comes to helping hundreds of families in need of the services the center provides."

The Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce is helping, too.

Ramon Gaanderse, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, said the Bag a Thon and breakfast "gives the community a chance to help provide resources for people who have come upon hard times."

Fourth annual Edward Jones Bag a Thon

Saturday, Nov. 13

8 a.m. to noon

Non-perishable items requested

The Edward Jones office, Lambert and La Cañada, Oro Valley (10355 N. La Cañada, Suite 181)

Breakfast donated by Caffé Torino

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