U-Haul Volunteers Bring Smiles, Spring Cleaning to Maggie’s Place

May 20, 2015

The Saturday after Mother’s Day was the perfect time for 13 U-Haul volunteers to buckle down and tackle some spring cleaning at The Fiat House.

The Fiat House at 4001 N. 30th St. serves as an outreach center for the Maggie’s Place Alumni Moms. Mothers who have moved out of one of the Maggie’s Place hospitality homes can still count on The Fiat House to provide support in the form of workshops, classes and counseling.

Maggie’s Place is one of the six primary charitable organizations that U-Haul assists in the Phoenix area, holding volunteer days here at least twice a year.

“The word ‘fiat’ is Latin for ‘yes,’” Maggie’s Place program and volunteer manager Ellie Newvine said. “A big part of our mission is saying yes. Whether the staff members are saying yes to working at Maggie’s Place or the moms saying yes to being open to a community of love, that’s the story behind The Fiat House.”


Saying yes is just the first step at Maggie’s Place. Next comes understanding and accepting the core values that decorate the wall in the lobby of The Fiat House.

“Our core values of hospitality, community, love and excellence are truly a reminder of how we can best serve those that walk through our doors,” Newvine explained.

The mothers and children who utilize the space and resources at The Fiat House come and go throughout the week. Because there are no moms living in the home, Maggie’s Place relies on volunteers, like Team U-Haul, to roll up their sleeves for landscaping and deep cleaning.

“It is so helpful when a large group is willing to help us with a variety of tasks,” Newvine said. “It is really helpful when people take the time out of their busy weekend or evening to help us. Many hands make light work!”

The 15 yellow sticky notes outlining the day’s tasks seemed daunting at first, but Team U-Haul met the challenge head on.


“One big job can be overwhelming,” said Elisabeth Novak, a policy service representative for Oxford Life Insurance at U-Haul headquarters. “Splitting it into smaller, more manageable jobs gave us a sense of accomplishment and contribution.”

“We gave our all,” added U-Haul business analyst Janice Perkins. “We completed every task that needed to be done, plus some. We all worked together and made sure everything was done. It was all teamwork.”

Team U-Haul was in charge of sanitizing toys, organizing donations and even sweeping away the rain puddles left from the previous night.

“I pictured the little ones playing with the nice, clean toys,” Perkins said. “We all know babies place everything in their mouths, so I am pleased that no germs will be spread.”

Perkins has worked at U-Haul for 31 years and volunteers whenever she can. She is one of just a few U-Haul employees who has the original U-Haul volunteer hat that was given away when the monthly volunteer days first started.


“Every once in awhile I’ll still see a U-Haul volunteer with the hat,” Perkins said. “U-Haul is a great company to be a part of.”

Over the years, U-Haul has enjoyed a strong community partnership with Maggie’s Place.

The organization doesn’t just meet the immediate physical and emotional needs of its guests, but also connects the mothers to the appropriate agencies and resources. From prenatal care and health insurance to affordable housing and education programs, Maggie’s Place supports mothers in short-term and long-term goals.

To learn more, visit http://www.maggiesplace.org.

“There are so many young women who become pregnant and have no where to go,” said Kimberly Wolf, a paralegal at U-Haul. “Maggie’s Place provides a safe place for them get their life on track and make better choices to improve their lives. They also get prepared for motherhood and are guided through programs that can help them stand on their own two feet.”

“I was a single mother when I had my first child,” said Alonna Ross, marketing specialist for RepWest and 2013 U-Haul Volunteer of the Year recipient. “It’s great to know that if I had needed assistance, there would have been a place like Maggie’s Place for me to go to.”IMG_0479

The mothers who utilize The Fiat House couldn’t see the sparkling floors and the shinning windows until Monday morning, but Team U-Haul can rest assured the smell of Lemon Pledge® would still be lingering.

Thanks to all the Team U-Haul volunteers and their families who took time away from their own spring cleaning to help The Fiat House: Andrea Batchelor, Jason Bressler, Eva Franco, Mike Franco, Rod McDowell, Elisabeth Novak, Janice Perkins, Jennifer Roldan, Alonna Ross, Robert Smith, Rob Stevens, Luis Terrazas and Kimberly Wolf.

For more stories on the things U-Haul is doing to help others, visit our In the Community page on myuhaulstory.com.

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