Through St. Mary’s Food Bank, an Ahwatukee Foothills family is aiming to feed 5,000 families before the new year.

Ed Kavanagh and his daughter, Jessica, 8, came up with the idea earlier this fall after thinking about how they could help others this holiday season.

“I expected we would do something simple on a weekend,” Kavanagh said. “Just to give (Jessica) a taste of helping out.”

But after various businesses and other community entities began expressing their support, Kavanagh knew their project could reach further.

Their first food drive, Foodworx, has already collected more than 500 pounds of food through small events and collection sites.

Kyrene de las Lomas Elementary, where Jessica attends school, will be collecting canned food and donations through December. Nello’s Pizza in Ahwatukee is also supporting the drive as well as the Ahwatukee Board of Management.

“What’s surprising is how willing people are to help,” Kavanagh said.

That willingness, according to Kavanagh, was also seen in his daughter.

“She’s been really engaged,” Kavanagh said of Jessica, who wrote a letter to her principal about the food drive. “She’ll sit and talk to people all day during our collection events.”

In fact, most of the sponsors for Foodworx were Jessica’s own doing, Kavanagh said.

“It’s the magic of an 8 year old,” he added. “There’s awareness now with the kids about being more civic.”

Foodworx will be collecting donations and food until Dec. 31.

Collection sites in Ahwatukee Foothills include Kyrene de las Lomas, 11820 S. Warner Elliot Loop, and the Ahwatukee Board of Management, 4700 E. Warner Road. Nello’s Pizza, 4710 Warner Road, will be offering specials on its menu in support of Foodworx.

To donate to St. Mary’s directly, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

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