Tis the season for giving, and U-Haul® worked its Christmas magic throughout the Valley in December 2023.
Team Members from the U-Haul Midtown Campus in Phoenix, the U-Haul Technical Center in Tempe, and the Glendale Manufacturing Company capitalized on several opportunities to donate their time and energy to help Arizona’s at-risk families.
U-Haul packed the month with volunteer activities benefiting local charity partners. The primary community objective of U-Haul has long been to partner with organizations that help people meet their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.
St. Vincent de Paul Palomino Event
St. Vincent de Paul hosts an annual Christmas shopping day for the students of Palomino Elementary, a Phoenix public school in a low-income community. U-Haul sponsors the event as a longstanding partner of SVdP.
On Dec. 18, U-Haul volunteers helped nearly 1,100 students select gifts for their families at SVdP’s Hope Chest Thrift Store on Greenway Road in Scottsdale.
Most of the participating K-6 students would be unable to have Christmas presents for their parents and siblings if not for this event. Palomino students were allowed to pick three or four items in the store to gift to family members. Options ranged from Barbies® and Squishmallows® for siblings to blankets and purses for Mom and tools and golf clubs for Dad.
“I’ve never participated in the SVdP Palomino event before and it was amazing to see the excitement and anticipation on both the children’s and volunteers’ faces,” said Jennifer Brito, U-Haul Lead Contact Center Recruiter.
“I love that U-Haul partners with charities like this that prioritize giving back to children and families. Donating my time is the least I could do to give back and make a difference. Time is the one thing we can’t get back so experiences like this mean everything.”
Operation Santa Claus
Starting in November, 11 U-Haul stores across the Valley served as drop-off locations for new unwrapped toys, new children’s clothing items and non-perishable packaged food items for Operation Santa Claus. Dec. 20 marks the last day for donations.
U-Haul has been a sponsor of Operation Santa Claus for many years, supporting the mission of Sanderson Ford and ABC 15 to ensure more at-risk children experience the joy and excitement of Christmas. In addition to serving as donation drop-off locations, U-Haul proudly makes a substantial monetary donation to the cause.
“Operation Santa Claus benefits five local nonprofits that help our neighbors in need,” said Joe Krueger, U-Haul Area District Vice President over the Company’s nine regional offices across Arizona. “As a Phoenix-headquartered company since 1967, we are committed to enhancing this community and improving people’s lives. We are pleased to again join our longstanding partner Sanderson Ford and be part of their inspiring annual event.”
All proceeds from Operation Santa Claus go to St. Mary’s Food Bank; The Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center; Military Assistance Mission; Special Olympics Arizona; and Chicanos Por La Causa.
At the Shoen Family Conference & Fitness Center in Midtown Phoenix, Team Members also participated in the Valley-wide event. Operation Santa Claus donation boxes in the lobby were overflowing with toys, clothes and food as Team Members aimed to make Christmas a little brighter for Arizona children.
Gingerbread Kids Holiday Gift Drive
U-Haul charity partner Southwest Human Development provides welfare services, counseling and a wide variety of other vital resources to Arizona children and families. Each December, Southwest Human Development holds the Gingerbread Kids Holiday Gift Drive where people can “adopt” and purchase gifts for kids.
This year, Team Members at the U-Haul Midtown Campus and the Tech Center purchased gifts for 100 kids, which Southwest Human Development then distributed to the families.
Christmas trees with paper tags hanging on them, each with the names of children ready to be “adopted” were located at both U-Haul locations.
“We couldn’t do events like the Gingerbread Kids Holiday Gift Drive without the support of amazing corporate sponsors like U-Haul,” said Annette Sutfin, Senior Manager of Philanthropic Experiences at Southwest Human Development. “The gifts they provide let the kids’ families know that their communities care about them and want them to succeed.”
Want to learn more about our partnerships with these and other charities? Visit uhaul.com/about/philanthropy.