U-Haul Volunteers Feed the Homeless at St. Vincent de Paul

U-Haul Team Members assisted community members struggling with poverty and homelessness during their Jan. 14 volunteer day at St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix.

To start, U-Haul volunteers removed decorations that remained from the holiday season, including a Christmas tree and ornaments. Team Members then made preparations for lunch that was to be served to guests in need that day.

The group split up to tackle their duties. While some prepared food – slicing fruit and warming stew – others filled water pitchers and prepared materials to clean up after the meal.

About an hour before the doors were set to be open, volunteer managers assigned jobs. Volunteers set up to greet guests and direct them to the lunch line, serve food, hand out utensils, and wipe down tables after the meal was finished.

The doors opened at 11 a.m. Volunteers served pizza, stew, oranges and vegetables. Pastries and popcorn were available after the meal.

After about two hours of serving food, the volunteers focused on cleanup. Volunteers wiped down and sanitized tables and chairs, and thoroughly cleaned the floor to prepare the room to become a temporary shelter for the hundreds that would sleep there later that evening.

Volunteering with SVdP clarifies just how many people there are in Phoenix and so many other cities that lack the privileges so many take for granted. To see hundreds of guests file into one room for a free meal brings home that fact.

Partnering with SVdP

St. Vincent de Paul was founded in 1833 in Paris and spread to the U.S. in 1845. The organization has been making a difference in Arizona since 1946, and there are multiple locations for people to volunteer.

“There are so many out there less fortunate than us,” explained Janice Perkins, a longtime U-Haul Team Member and volunteer. “It (volunteering) makes you feel good about yourself, and I can teach my son to give back, too.”

Organizations like SVdP provide an easy way to give back to the community for U-Haul Team Members. In return, partner companies like U-Haul make SVdP’s good works and contributions possible. U-Haul has partnered with SVdP for decades and focuses its primary charitable efforts on helping people meet their basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter.

“The more volunteers we have, the more clients we can serve. It’s as simple as that,” said Rozanne Hird, longtime volunteer and current volunteer manager at SVdP. “If we didn’t have volunteers, we wouldn’t be in business.”

Notably, SVdP provides not only food and shelter, but medical and dental services, donations and other general assistance help with resumes and interviews for employment opportunities.

Thanks to volunteers Janice Perkins, Trayvon Potts, Jason Wagner, Sandra Balderas, Janette Streiff, Kate Bickmore, Liza Perry, Taylor Perry, Leslie Fisher, Latasha Ross, Malinda Sutter, Jeff Sutter, Paul Cotton, Donna Cotton, Akhila Balaraman, Darnel Doty, Eric Doty, Zofia Sells, Zarin Sells, Kendal Haeuser, Hilda Shockey, Laura Marin, Robin Pitman and Lanny O.

Read about our recent December volunteer day by clicking here.

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