Most Tuesday mornings you will find me at 67th Avenue and Indian School Road, volunteering at the Maryvale Harvest Compassion Center. Working alongside other community members and a small group of employees, we spend the morning providing food and clothing, along with a dose of compassion and love, to families who just need a little extra help making ends meet.
The facility is set up like a mini-mart, and one volunteer role is to serve as a personal shopper. We walk with the guests through a clean and well-organized store selecting items that will be utilized by their family. There is no pre-filled bag because HCC wants to provide resources that will be appreciated and utilized by the families. Think about it, would you like to be handed a box of generic cereal, or have the choice of Wheaties, Special K or Cheerios? There is so much more dignity in this option-based food banking system, and the smiles and appreciation from the guests let everyone know the huge importance of the work we are doing. These supports for a young family, senior citizens and everyone in between help to bridge the gaps during this time of rapidly increasing costs.
Once food and personal care items are provided, guests can move on to the clothing area to select articles of clothing for their family. Unique in my experience, HCC launders and sorts clothing donations, which are then displayed for guests to shop through for the perfect selection.
Volunteering at HCC is a fun, at times challenging, but oh, so rewarding experience. The HCC team also truly appreciates their volunteers. From high school students to seniors like me, there is a job for everyone. The Center is abuzz with guest intake, laundry service, stocking shelves, personal shopping and even carryout service. Guests are serviced once per month, and depending on the donations received, the bags of groceries can be quite substantial!
HCC relies on community support to keep its operations humming. Donations of shoes and clothing are always in need, and the Amazon wish list is constantly updated to solicit the most needed items. No charity can exist without financial support, and for just $28 per month you can become a FEED1 partner. This contribution will fill one large recyclable grocery bag with food and hygiene items to feed one family for a month! What a terrific way to make a difference in the life of a family right here in our backyard.
If you know of families in need of a little extra help, I encourage you to introduce them to this organization. The team is always ready and willing to help!
You can learn about Harvest Compassion Center’s history, volunteering, hosting a collection drive, and other ways to get involved at www.harvestcompassioncenter.org.
Check it out, this nonprofit is truly an asset to our community!
Dan Shufelt, the former CEO of Arizona Helping Hands, has been involved in the charity world as an executive and grant maker for many years.
If you enjoy learning of caring people and the amazing work they devote their energy to advance, be sure to sign up for Dan’s blog (see sign-up form below).