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The holiday season is just barely here and one local alderman and his constituents have already demonstrated a giving spirit in a big way.

The River Hills Estates Food Drive, a neighborhood event that District 12 Alderman Aaron Perry participates in, raked in 701 pounds of food this past Saturday, Oct. 29, for the Food Pantry of Waukesha County. The event is in its fourth year.

The drive was started by two mothers - Stephanie Hubbard and Tera Popchock - in the neighborhood who wanted to show their kids why it is important to help others in the community.

They enlisted Perry, who participated in the drive before he was an alderman, to promote the event. Perry, who had a history volunteering at the food pantry, obliged.

During the drive, residents leave food pantry donations outside their homes or drop off donations at River Hills Park. The donations are collected and taken to the pantry.

Although the event is discussed as a neighborhood drive, anyone can participate in it, and it has expanded over the years to include the entire southwest side district, and more than two dozen volunteers.

"We had 30 volunteers this year," Perry said Monday, Oct. 31. "The most we've ever had. "

Staff at the food pantry, 1301 Sentry Drive, was thrilled and impressed by the donation.

Pantry Executive Director Karen Tredwell was not immediately available for comment Monday afternoon, but a pantry spokesperson said the donation was "awesome."

Another well-known local food drive called "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" is planned for a little later this year. That event, which is in its 15th year, has raised tens of thousands of dollars in donations to the pantry and collected almost 40 tons of food.

Several neighborhoods on the city's northwest side participate in the event, which is scheduled for Dec. 10.

Anyone looking for more information about that drive, should visit the event's website, www.nhnfooddrive.org, or call Shannon Majewski at 262-574-1149.

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