Students step up to end hunger

GLENDALE, AZ (February 9, 2015) — Last year, students from the Washington Elementary School District (WESD) collected over 56,000 pounds of food for a local food bank. This year they’re stepping up again with their annual We Can End Hunger Food Drive to benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. This marks the 3rd annual community food drive which challenges each school in the district to compete for the prized trophy touting the most donations received. The school that brings in the most pounds of non-perishable food will also be rewarded an ice cream party for the entire school sponsored by Credit Union West.

“This initiative is at the heart of our mission,” said Credit Union West’s President/CEO, Bob MacGregor. “We are proud to support this program that raises awareness to the growing number of children who go to bed hungry in Arizona.”

February signals a meager time for food banks after the rush from holiday donations ends. “St. Mary’s distributes enough food to provide 200,000 meals a day, so the food collected during the holidays is used up quickly,” said St. Mary’s Director of Public Relations, Jerry Brown. “Food drives, such as the Washington Elementary School Drive, go a long way toward helping us through the leaner months.” According to, Arizona’s hunger rates are above the national average with 17.8% overall food insecurity in the state. “So many in the [Washington School] District know what it’s like to be hungry and are part of families that know the challenges of providing nutritious food each day,” Brown said. “For them to come together and work to insure that other children in Arizona have enough to eat is an extremely inspiring effort.”

The district’s goal is to raise 75,000 pounds of food donations this year. Donations are being accepted beginning February 17 through February 27, and while much of the donations are brought in from the student body, the community is encouraged to participate. WESD is collaborating with several organizations to reach their goal. In a joint effort, Pure Heart Christian Fellowship and WESD are planning to line the streets with donated food cans. Jill Hicks, WESD’s community outreach specialist, wrote on Pure Heart’s blog, “On Thursday, Feb. 26 at 9 am we are going to create a line of cans on 43rd Ave. stretching from the WESD Administration Office to the Pure Heart Christian Fellowship driveway – working together to benefit our community. Join in the experience of unity that morning! We think it’ll take about 12,000 cans and we CAN do it!” The district and supporters of the food drive have created YouTube videos to get the word out using the hashtag #75000. The owners of Nothing Bundt Cake in Glendale are donating bundtinis for WESD staff for encouraging students to bring in donations. According to their YouTube video they are also donating a tiered cake to the staff at the school that brings in the most donations. Bill Gates, a Phoenix city councilman, is offering through his video to invite the organization that delivers the most donations to the WESD community food drive to an event at Talking Stick Resort.

In addition, the district held a food drive themed poster-drawing contest for their students and the winner, a fourth grade student, received an iPad, compliments of Credit Union West. The posters created by the students will be on display to help their food drive efforts. For additional information on how you can donate, email Jill Hicks at or call 602.647.2644.

To assist with the food collection, Credit Union West branch locations will also serve as drop-off locations. To find a branch near you visit

About Credit Union West
Credit Union West was founded in 1951 and is an award-winning financial cooperative. Well positioned for the future, Credit Union West has earned the highest 5-Star rating from Bauer Financial, Inc., the nation’s leading credit union and bank rating and research firm, who has been analyzing and rating financial institutions since 1983. Today it serves over 53,000 members with more than $550 million in assets. The credit union’s core principles have guided its decisions, which in turn has ensured integrity and trusted member service. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works or worships in Maricopa or Yavapai County and family members of current members. Federally insured by the NCUA.

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please call Amy Graham at 602.631.3438 or email

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