Community food and hygiene drive in May

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May brings a monthlong chance to donate nonperishable food and hygiene items for those in need. Donate during weekday business hours at Gila County Community Services, where a collection box is conveniently in the lobby at the Central Heights complex at 5515 S. Apache Ave.

And here’s a five-hour drive-through donation opportunity: Saturday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., volunteers will accept your donations at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints parking lot, 4247 Broadway in Claypool (please watch for signs and enter on Broadway, exiting on Second Street).

Suggested food items include canned soup/stew, canned fruits/veggies, canned beans, canned pasta, packaged tuna, ready-to-heat rice, peanut butter, packaged foods (seeds,  nuts, oats, granola and cereal), bottled water and food that can be prepared in a microwave.

Other needed items include can openers, deodorant, toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, lip balm, feminine hygiene items and socks. A similar food and hygiene drive was held in February, which organizers deemed “a great success.”

“We are trying to make this a quarterly event,” said Allison Torres, continuum of care coordinator with  Gila County’s Community Services Department. “The food helps multiple pantries in our community.”

February’s drive followed closely on the heels of the Point-in-Time Homeless (PIT) Count, conducted in January.

PIT Count goals include building awareness of community need, as well as providing individuals with information about existing resources, Torres said. She expects they should receive an initial report on this year’s PIT Count from the State of Arizona by the end of the month.

“We are continuing to see an urgent need within our community for food resources and decided to make this an ongoing effort,” prompting development of plans to hold a food and hygiene drive every  three months, Torres explained.

The May food drive comes in time to prepare for the annual Jason Sanchez Homeless Connect Day event, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, June 16, at the Maranatha Baptist Church, 1320 E. Saguaro Dr., Globe.

In collaboration with Gila County Community Services and the Gila County Homeless Task Force, the Homeless Coalition of Cobre Valley will hold this one-stop resource event. “Among other resources, food will be available for those experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness,” Torres explained. In the meantime, food from the May food and hygiene drive “will help stock our local pantries and churches once again for those in need within our community.”

For more information, contact Tim Gonzales at 928-961-3141 or [email protected], or Allison Torres at 928-425-7631 or [email protected].

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