The lobby of the Diane & Bruce Halle Foster Family Resource Center
November 1, 2019 marks the one-year anniversary of Arizona Helping Hands (AHH) opening for service to foster families in the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation Foster Family Resource Center.
Twelve months ago, AHH – the largest provider of essential needs to Arizona children in foster care began a new chapter in our long history. We’ve long held the dream of a larger space filled with supplies for foster families. Today, thanks to amazing support from our community, that dream is a reality.
Our 18,000 square foot building at 3110 East Thunderbird Road in north Phoenix was created with our clientele in mind. Walking in our front door, you are greeted with a light, airy and comfortable environment. Our lobby is adorned with a chalkboard, children’s play area and a reading nook. A view upward to the mobile hanging from the 20-foot ceiling attracts the attention of the littlest visitors. The skylight reflects color on the acrylic squares molded by AHH staff and volunteers.
The community room is a large, open area dedicated to volunteer activities, including decorating and packaging birthday gifts for boys and girls in foster care. This room is also the site for community education sessions. Foster parents attend monthly classes for assistance on their unique parenting journey.
A walk out onto the floor of the distribution area leads many to gasp. Our pallet positions are filled with toys, games, books, puzzles, diapers, bedding and more. All of these items make a difference in the lives of foster families. Clothing racks display a wide variety of attire to assist children who frequently enter foster care with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Rows of the warehouse are crammed full of cribs and mattresses to give children a safe place to sleep. These items, and more, are available to help children who have been abused and neglected, and are provided at no cost to foster families.
Our service statistics reflect the seemingly ever-growing need for our support. With two months remaining in 2019, we have already exceeded 2018 records in multiple areas. In 2019, we have celebrated 2,900 boys’ and girls’ birthdays. We have provided cribs to 820 infants, most of whom – like the 3-month-old baby I held last week – have been born exposed to substances and are fighting against poisons in their little systems. Holding him, I could feel the tremors as his little 5-pound body faces its challenges.
Every day we meet and support some of the 14,200+ children in foster care. We work diligently to assist on their journey, to provide love and support, and to show these boys and girls that we care.
Lending our helping hands to so many truly takes a village of community supporters who donate their time, talent and treasure to support our work. Arizona Helping Hands is grateful to Mrs. Halle and to all who have chosen to partner and assist in our service to these precious children. We look forward to bringing hope to children in foster care for many years to come!
Dan Shufelt is the President & CEO of Arizona Helping Hands, the largest provider of basic needs to Arizona’s children in foster care. Learn more about the Organization at www.azhelpinghands.org and contact Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org