Food drive collects more than 12 tons for the needy
Dave Perry/The Explorer, Sam Capuano, a firefighter with the Golder Ranch Fire District, sorted food Saturday at Lambert and La Cañada in Oro Valley, where people brought their donations for Interfaith Community Services. The Edward Jones Bag-A-Thon filled two U-Haul trucks, background, with more than 25,000 pounds of food.

A year ago, the Edward Jones Bag-A-Thon netted 12,500 pounds of non-perishable food for Interfaith Community Services.

The 2010 gathering more than doubled that sum.

With the help of Northwest students, Cub Scouts, elected officials and the communities at large, the fourth annual event generated 25,461 pounds — more than 12 tons — of donated food for ICS.

Ken Blanchard, the Edward Jones adviser who puts the Bag-A-Thon together, had set a goal of 20,000 pounds this year. He was amazed by the response.

“We truly will make a positive difference this year in the lives of those families that are having some challenges,” said Blanchard.

Hundreds of people dropped off food, and 50 volunteers helped sort it Saturday morning at Lambert and La Cañada in Oro Valley. Golder Ranch Fire Department firefighters gave hours to the sorting, packing and filling of two U-Haul trucks.

Food came from many people. Students and staff at Ironwood Ridge High School alone gathered 4,400 pounds of food. Jones offices throughout the city collected food. Young people in Cub Scout Pack 209 had gone door-to-door the previous week, dropping off more than 600 paper sacks. They returned Saturday to pick up filled bags. At 11 a.m., dozens of Scouts arrived in nine vehicles filled with 1,800 pounds of food.

“It was incredible to see all the passion these kids had to help out the community,” Blanchard said. “Of all the years I’ve been doing this, really the most moving thing for me was not only the schools, but those kids coming in with the Cub Scouts, their horns beeping, dozens of kids pouring out of cars with bags of food.”

Blanchard thanked residents, students, the Town of Oro Valley, the Scouts “and all those that showed their support for this year’s event. We never could have collected this much food without their hard work and commitment.”

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