VOLUNTEER: Help the Homeless at Cardboard City

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I love volunteering! There are so many worthy organizations in need of our time and talent, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. And then there’s the age-old question of “What do I do with the kids while I’m volunteering?” For these reasons, my debut blog post will focus on a fantastic nonprofit, Family Promise, and their annual, all-ages outreach and fundraising event, Cardboard City.

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Most of us realize that homelessness is a real problem, but not many know that families make up 40% of the homeless population. Family Promise is a homeless shelter based out of Scottsdale, AZ. They serve mostly first time homeless families…and their pets!…by providing emergency shelter through a network of over 30 congregations around the Valley which host the clients overnight for a week at a time at their church campuses. Every evening, the Family Promise van takes the families to the host church for the evening, where volunteers provide dinner, activities, help with homework, etc. The families have semi-private sleeping quarters for the night, and then in the morning they take the van back to the Day Center at Family Promise where the parents can receive job training, money management courses, or can be connected to additional social services. The kids go to school, come back to the Day Center, and then start the process over again around 5pm. This shelter delivery method allows Family Promise to operate at about 50% of the overhead otherwise required for providing all the overnight housing and meals. It is a special partnership.

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Ted Taylor, CEO of Family Promise, discovered that many families were inquiring about shelter when they became homeless, but when they learned that they couldn’t take their beloved dog or cat with them, chose to stay on the streets or living in their car instead of giving up the family pet. When you’ve lost so much, it can be inconceivable to lose such an integral member of your family! So Ted spoke to PetSmart and developed a plan to build a pet shelter on the Day Center campus. The idea took off, and now PetSmart has built pet shelters at Family Promise sites across the country!

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Family Promise has helped more than 500 families over the past 13 years. By raising awareness and funds through special events just like Cardboard City. Cardboard City is a fun, all-ages community event where participants build cardboard structures and then stay overnight in them on the baseball field at Scottsdale Stadium…how cool is that? The evening kicks off on Saturday, October 17, with the creation of streets and neighborhoods as people check in, followed by music and entertainment, and a light meal. Games like horseshoes and cornhole spring up block-party style throughout the stadium. Donuts and coffee are served in the morning when everyone wakes up. It is so much fun for the whole family!

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There is a registration fee of $25 per person for Cardboard City, with a family maximum of $100. Participants receive a tshirt and the meal as part of this fee, and everyone is encouraged to create a fundraising page and ask friends, family, and coworkers to support your efforts to help Family Promise return homeless families to self-sufficiency and independent housing. There will be incentives and recognition for the individuals and teams who raise the most money for Family Promise.

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RSVP and sign up for the event HERE and invite/bring your whole family…your youth group…a team from work…the moms from your PTA/neighborhood/or church…everyone is welcome. Together we can work to end homelessness in Arizona!

If you have questions, you can email me at [email protected], or contact Morgan Taylor (Director of Development for Family Promise) at 480-659-4227.

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Lori is an Arizona native, a wife, mother of five, and most recently…a grandmother! She and her husband love traveling through wine country in Arizona and California, and one day hope to open a their own winery. Currently employed as the statewide fundraising manager for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), Lori and her family enjoy volunteering together, and she hopes to highlight many opportunities for North Phoenix Moms and their families to do the same.

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