Category Archives: Donations

A good use for those used backpacks

United Food Bank is asking kids to donate gently used backpacks to help kids in need.

From now until the end of June, children who donate their backpacks will receive a free ice cream and a special certificate recognizing their good deed. The backpack drop-off location is from 8am to 4pm Monday through Friday at United Food Bank, 245 S. Nina Drive in Mesa.

The Backpack Program gets nutritious food to kids who are at risk of going hungry over the weekend by sending them home from school each Friday with a backpack full of food. This program is extremely important for children who qualify for free or reduced lunch at school but have little to no access to food over the weekend.

United Food Bank provides more than 500 backpacks every single week during the school year; many rip, get lost and need to be replaced.

“It may be hard to imagine this, but one in four children in Arizona do not know where their next meal is coming from,” said Lisa Goin, United Food Bank’s Chief Development Officer, in a press release. “We hear from parents who thank us for this food, saying that without this program, their child would literally just be eating the free lunch provided at school. It’s an unfortunate reality for so many people that there isn’t a single morsel of food in the house.”

For more information about donating a backpack or joining the Kids Lunch Bunch, visit or call 480-926-4897 ext. 207.


Book donation benefits New Song Center for Grieving Children

The New Song Center for Grieving Children will be able to provide a special book related to a young child’s loss thanks to a $500 book donation from Libraries Ltd.

New Song Center provides grief support to families and children who have experienced the death of a loved one. The program helps children, teens and young adults cope with loss through the sharing of stories and experiences, as well as art, music and recreation.

Copies of three titles were donated. The books will go to children ages 5 to 11.

If Nathan Were Here, by Mary Bahr, illustrated by Karen A. Jerome, explores the grief of a young boy whose best friend has died. Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company, for ages 6-12.

Sweet, Sweet Memories, by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, is about a girl who finds comfort following the loss of her grandfather in the stories and memories she and family members share. Hyperion Books for Children, for ages 6  to 8.

The Scar, by Charlotte Moundlic, illustrated by Olivier Tallec, is about a little boy responding to his mother’s death. Candlewick Press, for ages 5  to 8.

New Song Center is a program of Hospice of the Valley and was founded by volunteers in 1989.  It currently serves about 125 families throughout Maricopa County.  More information: 480-951-8985 or

Tucson-based Libraries Ltd. is a non-profit organization that works to promote literacy in children and teenagers, and targets underserved communities throughout Arizona.

Christ’s Church delivers loads of school supplies to Valley schools

Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) finished its “Operation: Support Our Schools” community initiative earlier this month after delivering more than 36,000 reams of copy paper, 15,000 boxes of tissue paper and 6,000 packages of wet wipes to 300 public elementary schools.

Christ's Church of the Valley. Operation: Support our Schools. Photo courtesy of CCV.

CCV celebrated its 30th anniversary by distributing the items to about 11,000 teachers and 300,000 students. The elementary schools that received the items were part of 22 school districts located throughout the Valley.

“Teachers were telling us how often during this time of year they run out of supplies, because the schools are under-resourced, and how they had to purchase some of these items themselves to get through the school year,” said CCV Senior Pastor Don Wilson.

CCV started promoting the program in March to more than 18,000 people and collected the donated items during 10 services on March 24 and 25.

Photo courtesy of CCV.

Founded in 1982, CCV is one church at multiple locations, including campuses in Peoria and Surprise. A third campus will open in Scottsdale this fall. Identical services are provided every weekend at each location. — Erin Saltzman

Two good reasons to donate blood

Kellie* experienced symptoms of leukemia in 2004, while she was on a camping trip. She was airlifted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where she received transfusions of platelets and red blood cells that sustained her life. The Sunrise Mountain High School student has since strung together “beads of courage” to represent each of the 131 lifesaving blood transfusions she required during her battle against leukemia. Her mom credits blood donors for restoring their hope.

Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon Railroad.

As if that’s not enough incentive to pull out your blood donor card, consider this: United Blood Services is offering blood donors a chance to win one of 60 pairs of tickets to the Grand Canyon when they donate in April or May. Donors will be automatically entered to win the tickets on the Grand Canyon Railway, valued at $150 per pair. The Grand Canyon Railroad’s scenic trip from Williams to the Grand Canyon covers 65 miles of classic Old West territory. The trip takes approximately two hours and 15 minutes one way.

The United Blood Service network is one of the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit blood service organizations. Donors of all types of blood are needed, especially Type O, the universal blood type. For more information or to find a donation center near you, call 877-UBS-HERO (877-827-4376) or visit

*Last name withheld upon request.

A deal to fill a toy closet

The Toy Closet at Cardon Children's Medical Center.

Cardon Children’s Medical Center and Banner Thunderbird Children’s Center will be featured on Tuesday through Thursday Jan. 24-26 to raise money for the Toy Closet program.

The Toy Closet program provides toys to patients who are undergoing medical treatment, providing distraction and comfort during what can be a stressful time in their lives. A trip to the toy closet may follow a painful procedure or scary treatment, or may occur when a child just needs a bit of encouragement. Children are allowed to keep the toys they select.

In order to minimize the risk of infection, all donated toys must be brand new.

Items most needed are age-appropriate toys that would appeal to the largest group possible. Some examples:

Teething toys
Musical toys
Teddy bears

Pop-up books
Light-up toys
Jumbo crayons with coloring book

School-age children
Matchbox cars
Board games
Arts and Crafts

Video games
Disposable cameras

Groupon features daily deals. To see the deal to benefit the Toy Closet program, you must subscribe to Groupon.

Girl Scout cookies, to eat or donate

It’s almost impossible to resist when a Girl Scout asks if you’d like to buy Girl Scout cookies. If you can resist eating the cookies, donate them through the Gift of Caring program. Arizona Cactus-Pine Girl Scouts is working with USO Arizona, Arizona National Guard and St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. These organizations will receive the donated cookies.

photo: Ken & Sharon Lotts,

Through the Gift of Caring program, Girl Scout cookies can be purchased to help others and still support the Girl Scouts. Cookie sales start Jan. 19.

You can also send cookies directly to troops overseas. Local organization Packages From Home will box up just about any item the troops can use and enjoy. Vicki Balint created a podcast of her interview with Packages from Home founder Kathleen Lewis.

Blankets for babies

Centennial NHS students (from left): Will Pederson, Spencer O’Gara, Shelley Goldberg, Kimberly Avila and Natalie Aguirre.

Students in the National Honors Society (NHS) at Centennial High School this week delivered more than 60 handmade blankets for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s McDowell campus.

The NICU is located inside Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. Patients include babies of high-risk pregnancies, babies born prematurely, multiple births and congenital anomalies.

Avila and Aguirre hold up one of the handmade blankets. Photos courtesy of Peoria Unified School District.

NHS students make blankets for babies every semester as a service project that has become a favorite for students each year. Each student brings in a yard of fleece to make the blankets and materials are donated by parents or members of the community. The students make the blankets using the cut-and-tie method, which does not require sewing.

Centennial High students have delivered more than 600 blankets to Valley hospitals within the last five years.

The Peoria Unified School District serves more than 36,000 students in 32 elementary schools, seven high schools and one alternative school. The district boasts a 94 percent high school graduation rate, award-winning teachers, high AIMS test scores, specialized signature programs and championship sports programs. For more information, visit