By Brooke Curley
SAFFORD – People came out in astonishing numbers to eat hot dogs for lunch and support a great cause.
On Wednesday, the Give From the Heart program set up a hotdog, nachos, and popcorn station beside the Safford City Hall shortly before noon. The program aids senior citizens who may have trouble paying their utility bills. All the proceeds from the hot dog station benefited the program. Also, for the first time, the Give From the Heart program teamed up with the United Way of Graham County. As a show of support, the United Way pledged to match all proceeds the Give From the Heart Program earned from their lunch sales.
What started off as a slow trickle of costumers quickly transformed into a tidal wave of hungry citizens waiting in line for lunch. Lorie Pedregon, the lead customer service representative for the city of Safford, later told Gila Valley Central the sales from the day totaled $814, which then doubled to $1,628 combined with the pledge from United Way.
“We didn’t expect the great turnout we had and (we are) very happy how the community came out to support this Give from the Heart fundraiser,” Pedregon said. “We are hoping to continue this each year because this is a continuous program that we have to keep having the funds coming in and want to be able to assist more senior citizens as time comes. We want to thank Pepsi for donating the trailer, ice, banners, and sodas; Walmart for donating the hot dogs and buns; Safeway for the gift card and our citizen’s service representatives and Field service for their time in organizing this and putting the extra money to have everything we needed.”
Those who would like to contribute to the Give to From the Heart Program can do so at a collection box in the Safford City Hall. Also, there is an area on Safford utility bills where individuals can round their bill up to the nearest dollar, with the extra amount going directly to the Give to the Heart program.