LDS Church organizes school supply drive for Casa Grande, Ariz., children

This year’s Make A Difference Day project passed the halfway point a week ago, and a survey of the school supplies collected to date is looking very good with three weeks to go, according to Marilyn Cooper-Lunt, Helping Hands coordinator and stake activity director for public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Each year, the Helping Hands group takes on a project that usually entails something labor-intensive, such as furnishing and decorating one of the Against Abuse Inc. shelters or doing repairs and landscaping at Home of Hope, and these projects involve spending several weeks collecting donated items, which are delivered on the day when the work is to be done.

And that day is designated as Make A Difference Day, and it’s always in October and always on a Saturday, because that’s when most of the LDS volunteers are available. This year was a little different, however. The project was done at the behest of Casa Grande Elementary School District Superintendent Frank Davidson, who told Cooper-Lunt that many of the children attending the elementary schools in Casa Grande, because of the economy, were ill-equipped to do so, and he gave her a long list of items that the schools needed in order for each student to start school with exactly what they needed for their classes.

This year, Make A Difference Day is Oct. 23, but because it falls on a Saturday, Cooper-Lunt’s schedule for gathering and packaging the collected supplies had to be moved up to the week prior to that day. On Monday, Oct. 18, she hopes to have all of the items, collected by the local wards or left in the collection boxes at Walgreens, Fry’s, Kmart and Safeway stores and in all the LDS churches, brought to her garage, where they can be sorted out, inventoried and placed on a list.
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