August days spent under the desert sun can be sweltering and dangerous, as the Valley’s homeless population knows all too well.
U-Haul Team Members did their best to offer the homeless and poor some level of relief on Aug. 15 during U-Haul Company’s latest volunteer effort at André House.
Located downtown, André House is a ministry to the homeless and poor populations of Phoenix and provides a variety of services to hundreds in need every day. André House was founded by two Holy Cross priests in 1984.
“I had not been to André House before,” said volunteer Elisabeth Novak, policy holder service representative with Oxford Life Insurance, which is located in the U-Haul corporate towers. “Despite the hot weather, it was a lot of fun to work with the other volunteers and it was very eye opening to see how the homeless population gets through the heat each day.”
U-Haul Team Members performed a number of tasks, including: sorting through clothing donations, organizing shelves, folding and stocking items, serving water and distributing clothing. André House relies on more than 10,500 volunteers each year to sustain its ministry.
Volunteer Juliann Van Wormer, project control analyst at the U-Haul Tech Center, said that “volunteering at André House was an amazing opportunity to make a difference at the ground level. The contribution made by U-Haul team members was both meaningful and fulfilling.”
“It was a humbling experience to be a helping hand for the André House and the underserved population in downtown Phoenix,” added volunteer Ashley Dudley, a U-Haul software developer. “They do such great work and really help the homeless and poor who are in dire need; from a cold cup of water in this 100-plus-degree weather to providing meals, clothes, shoes and general hygiene products. They are a wonderful organization and I was happy to help.”
In Maricopa County, 4,251 people live in permanent supported housing; 7,555 live in shelters; and 2,587 are living on the street (source: Department of Economic Security, 2010). Of those who are in shelters, one in three is a child, 15 percent are veterans, 20 percent have experienced domestic violence, 31 percent are chronic substance abusers and 16 percent suffer from a mental illness.
U-Haul Team Members who volunteered on Aug. 15 included: Dudley, Novak, Van Wormer, Jason Bressler, Barbara DeCosta, Sharri Jack, Kate Bickmore, Laura Marin, Mary Retiguin and her son, Melissa Allen and Edward Bedrosian. Thank you for your support.
Last Time Out: Read about our July volunteer day at Saint Vincent de Paul by clicking here.