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Wed, Nov. 20

Holidays are brighter for hundreds of area children, families

PRESCOTT VALLEY - The Yavapai Food Bank served nearly 900 needy children and 1,300 families this Christmas through community donations and hundreds of volunteer hours supporting its annual holiday program, said Executive Director Ann Wilson.

Wilson said volunteers handed out nearly 1,000 toys during the food bank's Dec. 23 Christmas party at Living Faith Christian Center in Prescott Valley.

"An additional 240 low-income families were sponsored by community members, and received their gifts during the Christmas party," she said. "We used donations specified for the Christmas program to buy additional needed toys, along with Living Faith Christian Center, that also purchased toys and candy canes to make up the numbers needed at the end."

The Prescott Jaycees, Shawn Nelson with his motorcycle club, many individuals, schools, other organizations, and Every Kid Counts in Tempe donated other toys. Pepsi and Wal-Mart sponsored a coat drive that brought it many coats, Wilson said.

The food bank distributed 95 coats to a girls' school in the Mingus Mountains and to many individuals coming to the food bank and will continue to hand them out, as well as blankets, to all who need them at the food bank location through the cold days and weeks ahead, she said.

Families throughout the county also received a holiday food box with turkey, ham or chicken and all of the traditional fixings. Volunteers prepared and distributed more than 1,300 holiday food boxes and hundreds of duffel bags from the Northern Arizona Food Bank stuffed with personal items for each member of the families who received them.

"This year we spent an additional $12,757 to purchase turkeys and hams to augment what was donated to the food bank," Wilson added. "The community donations we received made it possible for us to distribute holiday food boxes during the week before Christmas to many areas of Yavapai County. We are so thankful for the generosity of everyone that helped make this happen."

YFB's service area extends across the county through its network of more than 40 social service agencies, faith-based organizations and affiliated pantries. Volunteers distribute an average of 40 tons of food each month to more than 5,000 families.

Donations to the food bank are tax deductible and also qualify for the Arizona State Tax Credit. To make a year-end donation for a 2007 tax credit, call Wilson at 928-775-5255.

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