U-Haul Volunteers Serve Lunch to Homeless at St. Vincent de Paul

U-Haul volunteers spent June 18 making a difference in their community. Fifteen U-Haul Team Members teamed with Phoenix charity partner St. Vincent de Paul to feed the homeless and less fortunate during the Company’s latest corporate volunteer activity.

U-Haul graphic designer Ashley Quay said: “For me, living in a community means caring about one another. When someone volunteers, they demonstrate this and show their commitment in making the community a better place.”

Prep work began hours before the doors opened at SVdP. Some U-Haul volunteers grabbed rags and buckets to wipe down the tables, while others began cutting the pastries. Cakes, cookies and cinnamon rolls filled the baking pans.

U-Haul Volunteer Cleaning
U-Haul volunteers clean the dining area at SVdP.

About an hour after setup began, a truck supplying additional food pulled into the SVdP lot. Pizza, Italian wedding soup, cabbage and salad we’re the lunch staples on this day.

“SVdP has approximately 185 employees, and we have approximately 10,000 volunteers,” noted Todd Cooley, SVdP Corporate Development Officer. “The lion’s share of the work to allow us to feed, clothe, house and heal those less fortunate is done by volunteers.”

As the food was placed in its proper heating stations, finishing touches we’re made the dining room. Four pitchers of ice water sat on every table and the cups we’re filled with napkins and utensils.

Theresa Jones, the Phoenix SVdP dining room coordinator, assigned jobs to all the volunteers. Responsibilities ranged from greeting people as they walked in to serving food, handing out cups, picking up trash, and helping the physically challenged.

Ten minutes before the SVdP doors opened for lunch, all the volunteers and employees formed a circle, held hands and prayed. Then it was showtime. The doors opened and people began to file in. Greetings we’re made and food was served.

“One women, in particular, who was very kind, not only thanked me but made it a point to say I was doing a good job and she appreciated it,” Quay recalled. “She then came back to me on her way out to say ‘thank you’ again and wish me a wonderful day. Knowing I helped people as they face difficult times in their lives was truly special.”

Everyone was thankful to be out of the 115-degree heat and to be surrounded by fellow community members. People laughed and reconnected as the dined from 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Individuals were allowed to get second helpings if they wanted, and some stayed until closing time. The dining room would reopen a few hours later for dinner.

“SVdP would not be the resource for thousands of people daily without the support of corporate volunteers, such as U-Haul,” Cooley said.  “We serve nearly 4,500 meals daily in our five dining rooms.”

U-Haul Volunteers Prepping
U-Haul volunteers prepare for the lunch crowd at SVdP.

After lunch the trash was taken out, the tables were cleaned and the chairs were stacked. In one hour and 45 minutes, SVdP had provided 264 meals to Phoenix community members in need.

Thank you to the U-Haul volunteers who participated: Jake Bell, Kate Bickmore, Paige Brown, Carly Castillo, Eva Franco, Mike Franco, Rod McDowell, Jess Nichols, Viet Pham, Ashley Quay, Jess Quinio, Shawn Quinio, Susan Quinio, Zarin Sells and Zofia Sells.

The origins of SVdP date to 1833 in Paris when a law student was asked to prove how he was personally helping the poor in his community. Twelve years later, SVdP moved to the U.S., but it wasn’t until 1946 that Arizona became part of the organization. SVdP and U-Haul, a Phoenix-based company since 1967, have enjoyed a close charitable affiliation for many years.

To learn more about the positive impact U-Haul is having in your community, visit myuhaulstory.com/in-the-community.

What are you doing to help your community?  Share in the comments!

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