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Local entities collecting for those in need

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Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 6:49 am

The act of giving clearly doesn’t go out of style.

Giving to those in need took a big step in the right direction in Ahwatukee Foothills this holiday season with numerous local entities collecting coins, donating toys and other generous acts to those in need.

Once the buzz from Black Friday and Cyber Monday came to a close, schools, churches like Living Word and Parish of St. Benedict, along with the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA and other community centers began organizing drives to serve families and kids.

The Parish of St. Benedict will be hosting its Angel Giving Tree event today, Dec. 16, from noon to 1 p.m. with volunteers needed to sort, wrap and distribute gifts. The parish, located at 16223 S. 48th St., is expecting to give more than 1,000 gifts to families this year.

Gifts are requested by various communities in the Valley and then shared with parishioners on gift tags for the Angel Giving Trees. Families wish for toys, clothes, gift certificates, food baskets and household needs for children and adults. Parishioners are able to pick a tag and then provide that “wish” for someone in need.

Living Word Ahwatukee, at 14647 S. 50th St., Suite 165, will be accepting donations and personal care items like shampoo, soap, deodorant, and other hygienic products for youth in foster homes.

“You’d be surprised what these kids ask for,” said lead pastor Jeff Zubeck. “It’s the simple things that mean a lot to them.”

The church will be collecting these items at their building until Dec. 22 and at several drop-off locations in Ahwatukee, including Family of Christ Lutheran Church, 3501 E. Chandler Blvd., and Ahwatukee Cross Fit, 3145 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 112.

Ahwatukee Foothills Montessori’s 110 students raised about $600 this school year by saving spare change in their “lovelight” piggy banks, and were able to buy about 70 toys to donate to Salvation Army’s Chandler location.

Owner and administrator Meaghan McClung said the students, as young as 2, were excited to be able to learn about giving and helping other kids.

“When we see that reaction from them, it tells me that they do get it,” McClung said. “It’s sinking in to help others.”

The school bought bicycles, stuffed animals, trucks and LEGOS, among other toys for kids.

Over at the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA, 1030 E. Liberty Lane, more practical items like books, sporting equipment, and personal care items were donated to the Kyrene School District’s Winter Wonderland event last Wednesday.

The Kyrene Resource Center is benefitted by the Winter Wonderland event where low-income families are invited to pick out toys and other gifts for Christmas.

Last week, the Women’s Club at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center gathered for an annual holiday luncheon, where members donated at least one toy each to the Department of Economic Security.

Nearly 140 women donated toys during the luncheon where they will be picked up and dispersed to children in need.

Last year, about 500 toys were donated and collected by the recreation center.

Due to these efforts, a great number of families in Ahwatukee and surrounding communities were able to feel the joy of the season, no matter what the circumstances.

“It’s more important that people get what they need, instead of us feeling good about ourselves for giving,” Zubeck said.

Call (480) 961-1610 for information about the Angel Giving Tree program, or visit stbenedict.org.

For a complete list of drop-off locations, visit ahwatukeechurch.org or call (480) 584-6116.

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

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