During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be easy to forget about people in our communities who struggle with homelessness or lack other essential resources.
Thanks to organizations like the nonprofit André House, residents in and around Phoenix, Ariz., have a place to turn. Support found here includes food, clothing, showers and more, offered to hundreds of people each day.
One of the hallmarks of André House is its free dinner service, which is offered six nights per week. As a longtime André House charity partner, U-Haul International promotes corporate volunteering to prepare and serve these dinners.
A small but mighty group of U-Haul volunteers recently paused their Christmas plans to help feed more than 300 people. The U-Haul Team Members were proud to make an impact on the community in Phoenix, where the Company has been headquartered since 1967.
Volunteers make a difference
U-Haul Community Relations specialist Miranda Luna has volunteered at André House multiple times, and always finds something new to enjoy.
“I sliced and juiced limes, which were used to make pico de gallo for burritos,” Luna said. “I also helped fold tortillas and serve food to the guests. I really enjoyed interacting with volunteers from different companies and organizations, and learning about what brought them to André House. As someone who organizes U-Haul volunteer events, it’s interesting to see what motivates people to volunteer. And, of course, I loved serving the André House guests. They were so thankful for everything.”
U-Haul continues to place a high priority on volunteering and giving back.
“U-Haul really walks the walk, and takes action to help make communities better,” Luna said. “Whether it’s through charitable partnerships with André House and other nonprofit organizations, or through individual acts of service Team Members do each day, U-Haul is dedicated to lifting up people and providing them with the resources they need to live their best lives.”
Generosity and gratitude
As a frequent André House volunteer, U-Haul Truck/Trailer Development specialist Michele Ramirez has done everything from food prep to cleanup. This time, she served food to guests who were unable to walk through the main serving line.
“They had a dedicated room where we’d take the guests’ dinner orders and serve them restaurant-style,” Ramirez said. “Because it was a little bit slower-paced than the main serving line, the other volunteers and I were able to chat with the guests and get to know them better. We had a wonderful time talking and laughing with them.”
For Ramirez and others, celebrating the holidays includes means embracing service opportunities.
“When I volunteer, it makes me feel much more grateful for everything I have,” Ramirez said. “Plus, the holidays are all about being generous, so whenever I feel tempted to act self-centered during this busy time of the year, service reminds me what truly matters. For everyone who’s potentially interested in volunteering at a place like André House, I say go for it! At the end of the day, volunteering doesn’t take too much time. All you have to do is take the leap and show up.”
To read about other U-Haul volunteer events at André House, click here.