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Before you go, won’t you leave something behind?

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Hey, snowbirds, before flocking back to your cooler climes for the summer, how about helping the hungry in the Valley of the Sun?

All you need to do is clean out your pantries, something some of you undoubtedly do anyway, but something some of you might not think about till you come back in the fall. And upon restocking after that first grocery trip find you’ve got some canned goods that expired while you were away. Probably a hodgepodge of nonperishables on the verge, too.

Clean out your pantries before you migrate and you will help the hungry at the time of year they need it most.

Summer is especially hard on already cash-strapped families because school is not in session. Summer break means higher daycare costs, higher grocery bills.

Summer also happens to be the time of year when donations tend to dwindle. We get busy. And there isn’t a red kettle or angel tree everywhere we look reminding us of those less fortunate. Let’s face it. Those of us who can give think about it more often during the holidays than any other time of the year.

That’s precisely why the West Valley View launched an annual summer food drive 12 years ago. We chose the month of May in direct response to the summer slump. But we’ll tell you all about our drive in an upcoming issue.

This editorial is about St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance’s fourth annual St. Mary’s Snowbird Food Drive. It runs through April 21.

St. Mary’s once again is asking snowbirds to “empty your pantries to fight hunger” before leaving the Valley of the Sun for the next six months or so.

The “world’s first food bank,” St. Mary’s provides food to local food banks throughout most of Maricopa County and northern Arizona. That includes our West Valley food banks.

St. Mary’s has two Valley locations: 13050 W. Elm St. in Surprise and 2831 N. 31st Ave. in Phoenix. Both serve as drop-off points for food donations. Not very convenient for us, though, right?

No problem. St. Mary’s has teamed up with Culver’s and has containers at both West Valley restaurants: 1540 N. Verrado Way in Buckeye and 1025 N. Avondale Blvd. in Avondale.

That’s what we here at the View do for our summer food drive. We invite every business in the entire West Valley to partner with us to serve as drop-off locations. And then we print the name of every participating business in every issue throughout the entire month. We want to make it as easy as possible for all of you to donate.

But there we go again, talking about our food drive.

The St. Mary’s Snowbird Food Drive ends in nine days, and while the food bank will gladly accept donations year round, it won’t always be teamed up with convenient drop-off sites.

So get those pantries cleaned out and fly north knowing someone won’t have to go hungry this summer in the Valley of the Sun.

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