ELOY — With some Eloy schools already in session, the city’s police department and fire district held a back to school drive to collect school supplies and cash donations for both students and schools.

The school drive was held Friday at the Dollar General locations on Toltec Road and Sunshine Boulevard. Eloy police officers and firefighters were in attendance, and Eloy City Councilman Jose Garcia was there to help as well.

“We end up donating all the supplies to the schools, and they will distribute the supplies to the students as they need them,” Garcia said. “Throughout the year, some kids will end up having to buy pencils or what have you, and they don’t tell mom and dad over the weekend. So they end up coming to school lacking the supplies, so this is a way to help prevent that.”

Garcia knows all too well about what kind of supplies students need while in school, as he is a teacher at Eloy Junior High School.

One of the Volunteers at the event was JoAnne Galindo. An Eloy native, Galindo continued her call to serve her community about five years ago when she connected with the police and fire departments to create community engagement while extending a helping hand to those who need it most at the same time.

“Around that time, the Police Department and the officers didn’t really have a good relationship with the community, so a group of stakeholders here in Eloy decided that we wanted to help with that before it got worse,” Galindo said. “The idea for the school drive was created out of that, so members of the community come out here along with the firefighters and police officers; they interact with the community, and it really does help with the schools.”

Galindo also described what it means to her to do something that goes a long way to helping students in Eloy.

“I went to school through Eloy Elementary and Santa Cruz, and so did my child, and there were people there to help them, ‘cause I never felt like I had a need, and when my daughter was in school, we were always willing to help,” Galindo said. “It wasn’t until I was on the Santa Cruz High School board, and I realized that it takes a lot, there is a lot of need there. I think it is just our time, somebody did it for us, so now it’s time for us to pass it on.”

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David Church is a reporter covering Eloy, Arizona City and sports. He can be reached at dchurch@pinalcentral.com.