The Tonto Basin School has busily started preparing to sponsor a Christmas food drive.
“We have so many families down here that are truly in need,” said Superintendent Mary Lou Weatherly. “Many of our families are seeking assistance through organizations for clothing, shoes, coats, eyeglasses, toys and food.”
Currently, the some 84 percent of the students qualify for the school’s free and reduced lunch program, based on family income. This federal program has become the de facto indicator of the financial needs of a school district.
Already the Kiwanis organization has helped Tonto Basin children with clothing twice this year. The younger children get to come to the Kiwanis store prior to Christmas to shop free for presents for immediate family members.
During Thanksgiving, Weatherly said students contributed over 1,100 canned and boxed goods for the Kiwanis food boxes.
“We decided that we would try to do a community outreach in which each group of kids brought a specific type of food item so that we could prepare food boxes,” said Weatherly.
For the Christmas food drive, teachers and other school staff have offered to purchase either a ham, turkey or roast to add to the meal boxes to make them complete.
The school is also looking for additional sponsors for the meat as it hopes to put together as many Christmas food boxes as it can.
Weatherly said the school would love to have any additional assistance from other communities to help make this holiday enjoyable for those in need in the Tonto Basin.
For more information, please call the Tonto Basin School at (928) 479-2277.