Kyrene schools put in some extra effort to benefit needy families inside and outside the district during the holidays.

Before students, teachers and staff left for winter break, most of the local elementary and middle schools in Ahwatukee Foothills staged a food drive, toy drive or some other type of fundraiser to help out the Kyrene Family Resource Center, the Kyrene Foundation and other charitable organizations.

The students at Kyrene de la Sierra collected more than 4,400 food items during a two-week food drive that benefited the KFRC.

"We had a goal of 1,000, but we greatly exceeded that number," said Hope Massar, Gifted Resource teacher at Sierra. "Everyone in the community, all the parents, has been very generous."

Students at Kyrene de los Cerritos collected items for a toiletries drive, food drive and toy drive. Some of the kindergartners also made holiday cards which, were passed out at the annual Winter Wonderland event at the district office on Dec. 11.

"(Cerritos) did a lot this year, even the little ones got involved," said Emily Talarico Mazer, second-grade teacher at Cerritos.

At Kyrene de los Lagos, more than 100 Christmas stockings were collected for the patients at La Estancia Nursing Home in Ahwatukee Foothills, and the students sang carols to the patients when they stopped by to drop them off. The school also conducted a toiletries drive.

Kyrene Monte Vista also had a food drive and collected more than 1,775 canned food items that went to the resource center.

With the holidays approaching, the shelves at the resource center need to be stocked, Massar said, because it is a time when people need help the most.

"We were just excited to be able to help as much as we could," she said.

The Kyrene Family Resource Center is an outlet for families who are struggling financially. It provides food, clothing and toiletries which all come from community donations.

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