Donating to the Backpack Program

Pictured with food donations Friday are Southwest Gas local employees, from left, Jim Creason; Tawmi DeZonia; Tammy Fimbres; Nathan Estes; Mason Davis; Nell Warden, of the Food Pantry; plus SW Gas’ Ted Long, Joe Ambrose and Rudy Reyes.

WILLCOX — Food for the growing school backpack program was donated to the Willcox Food Bank on Friday.

Southwest Gas’ Blue Crew project was put into action in an effort to assist communities with nutrition deficiency this week. The crew’s donation included 844 pounds of nonperishable food alongside a $2,500 cash donation to the backpack program.

The Willcox Community Food Bank backpack program is a system that feeds hungry children in the Willcox and Bowie school systems. The program has grown in the Willcox school system to 75 backpacks being distributed weekly and 15 backpacks being taken to Bowie for its schoolchildren.

“We were only taking 15 to the Willcox Junior High last year. That has increased to 30,” said Willcox Food Pantry Director Nell Warden. “I think some of our students went from elementary school to junior high this year. Or maybe the schools are screening the kids more (finding hungry students). But we have many, many thanks for (the Southwest Gas Blue Crew). The community has turned out, and they’re being awesome.”

Warden also told the Range News that the Willcox Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts also donated 365 pounds of food and deserved recognition.

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