Santa’s workshop came to Phoenix this year. With assistance of nonprofit St. Vincent de Paul, U-Haul and other Arizona-based organizations, Palomino Primary School students were able to buy Christmas gifts for their parents and siblings.
On Dec. 22, the SVdP Bell Road thrift store held its 28th annual Christmas shopping spree. More than 1,400 low-income students in the Valley took part.
“This event is teaching students that it is a blessing to give to others,” says Todd Cooley, SVdP corporate development officer. “SVdP is instilling a lesson in the minds of the little ones.”
For only one dollar, Palomino students could pick any two items throughout the store to gift to a family member. Options ranged from stuffed animals to coffee makers and golf clubs. And for the kids who needed a little bit of help making their Christmas gift selections, eight U-Haul Team Members were there to assist.
The Search Begins
“My favorite moment was when a little girl asked if I could help her pick out a new dress for her mom,” recalls Alonna Ross, a product marketing analyst for Repwest. “She wanted to give her mom a Christmas gift that would make her feel pretty.”
Almost 90 percent of the Palomino students participating in this event are on subsidized meal programs. Most would not be able to give Christmas gifts if not for the donations and volunteer efforts of the community.
Partnerships Making a Difference
“SVdP partnerships are so important. Without our volunteers, we couldn’t provide for the people we serve,” says Susan Junker, SVdP development officer. “U-Haul has done so much for us – and for quite a number of years now.”
In addition to its volunteer efforts, U-Haul gave $2,500 toward the annual shopping spree. U-Haul and SVdP work toward helping the less fortunate meet their basic human needs like food, clothing and shelter.
“It’s important to volunteer because of the positive impact it leaves on the less fortunate people in our community,” says Armelyn Louis, a U-Haul roadside assistance senior agent who volunteered at the event.
“It makes me proud and grateful to work for a company that has strong values and takes a large interest in helping others.”
To learn more about previous U-Haul volunteer events, go to U-Haul: In the Community.