Rotary Club of Goodyear PebbleCreek (GYPC) and PebbleCreek’s Kare Bears club partnered with students from six schools to raise more than 4,500 pounds of canned food and $3,100 for the Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank. With the demand for food bank services at an all-time high, this multifaceted partnership engaged leaders of all ages to reduce hunger locally.
Now in their second year of food drive partnership, Rotary GYPC and Kare Bears grew the effort beyond the active retirement community of PebbleCreek. Eight leaders ranging from grades 3 through 10 coordinated mini-drives in their Goodyear neighborhoods, yielding 25% of the total donations raised. Emery Clymer, a fifth grader at Mabel Padgett Elementary School, said, “I liked making flyers to tell my neighbors about this opportunity. We checked our doorstep for new donations every day.”
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 Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank serves the cities of Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, and Tonopah, for an approximate total of 50,000 individuals experiencing hunger annually. Executive director Leanne Leonard said, “We rely on our community to meet the basic needs of our most vulnerable neighbors.” Clymer added, “This was an easy way to stay home and still help people who don’t have jobs right now.”
As chairperson of the Rotary’s Community Service committee, 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.
Henry said, “We were incredibly blessed to be able to partner with Kare Bears, the PebbleCreek community, and our local schools on this very successful endeavor.”
Rotary Club GYPC normally meets every Wednesday at 7 a.m. in PebbleCreek’s Tuscany Falls Clubhouse. Video webinars are currently replacing in-person meetings. Community members and local businesses interested in learning more about Rotary and guests affiliated with other Rotary Clubs are welcome. Contact President Elect Joan Smith at email@example.com or 503-348-9468 for more information.