Retired Generation Church Pastor Paul Lavino

Retired Generation Church Pastor Paul Lavino gave a tour last year of the church’s food pantry, which the Ahwatukee Board of Management hopes to stock with its food drive Aug. 15.

The pandemic has inflicted pain on many Ahwatukee families and the Ahwatukee Board of Management staff wants to do something to help them.

So, ABM is planning a major food drive 7-10 a.m. Saturday Aug. 15 at its complex, 4700 E. Warner Road, Ahwatukee, under the theme of “Fill the Red Trailer.”

ABM is pulling out its trailer from storage in the hope that people will fill it with nonperishable food items that will then be given to Generation Church’s pantry, which has been feeding needy families long before COVID-19 and its accompanying economic downturn.

Coincidentally, Generation Church also will be doing something the same day to help struggling families with its fifth annual Back to School Bash, 9-11 a.m.,   Aug. 15, during which the church will be giving out backpacks with school supplies and offering free haircuts. Water inflatables will be on hand and there will likely be free food as well.

The bash is open to students in K-12 grades but to get a backpack, students or their parents must RSVP at generation.church and both student and parent must be present to get one.

This is the fifth year the church, which also has a Mesa campus, is holding the bash.

ABM staffer Lisa Robinson said the idea of the food drive arises from concern over the pandemic’s economic impact on families – including many in Ahwatukee.

“We are all painfully aware of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on people losing their jobs and the ability to feed their families,” she said, pointing to studies that indicate more than 40 percent of workers who have lost their jobs may not get them back.

“The same study also found that for every 10 people laid off, only three new jobs will be created,” she added.

Since March 1, the Generation Church Food Pantry has provided over 200,000 pounds of food to close to 3,500 families. 

“With our help they will be able to continue this wonderful support to families in need,” Robinson said.

The pantry, which is open 11 a.m.-noon Wednesdays and Saturdays, at the Generation Church Ahwatukee campus, 11832 S. Warner Elliot Loop.

The items the pantry needs the most include: canned protein such as tuna fish, chicken, salmon; canned vegetables, especially beans, peas and tomatoes; Canned fruit, especially peaches, and apricots; peanut butter, pasta, macaroni and cheese; oatmeal, cereal, shelf-stable milk and dried fruit and nuts and soup of any kind.

Robinson stressed that items should be in cans and not glass containers of any kind.

Volunteers wearing facial coverings will be on hand to assist with no-contact donations.  

People can drive up, pop open their trunk and the volunteers will take the donations without donors having to leave their vehicles.

As for the bash, “we’ve been collecting the supplies for about the last month and our church members love participating in this drive,” said Pastor Ryan Visconti, whose church is offering both online and in-person worship with social distancing on Sundays.

 “We know the school year is coming, and there are kids who are under-resourced. Their need doesn’t go away just because of our current crisis. So, we want to serve them as much as we can right now.”

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