Cheery, charitable change-makers

October marks the kickoff of the holiday season with a whirlwind of decorations, parties, food, and family. However, businesses are taking a pause in the commotion to give back to the community and help those that need it most. In Arizona, we see small, family-owned shops, in addition to larger corporations, participating in the giving.

This year, from October 19th-28th, nearly 500 local businesses participated in Care Card. This charitable opportunity hosted by The Board of Visitors gave business owners and consumers the chance to work together to support a common good. Participating shop owners in Care Card presented patrons with a discount of 20 percent off their entire purchase when they bought a Care Card. All of the proceeds from the purchase of the discount cards went to support the Foundation for the Blind.

Some of the locally owned businesses that participated this year included: Ace Hardware, Bungalow Furniture & Accessories, Bertha’s Café, Danese Creations, Figs Home & Garden, Flip Dunk Sports, Joyride Taco House, Luci’s Healthy Marketplace and Luci’s at the Orchard.  Co-owner of Bungalow Furniture & Accessories, Linda Criswell, spoke to her business’ involvement with Care Card over the last 12 years, “We believe in supporting the needs of our community. It’s a full circle; shop local—giving back locally. It’s how change gets made.” 

Bashas’ grocery stores are also making an effort this holiday season to support individuals within the community that are struggling to put food on the table. Ashley Shick, Director of Communications and Public Affairs spoke on behalf of Bashas, expressing their view on charitable giving, “A healthy community supports each other, businesses and nonprofits alike, so it is our honor and our responsibility to give back whenever we can. Since 1932 we have given back over $100 million to communities all across Arizona.”

Each month, the grocer hosts a charity where shoppers are encouraged to donate money or food in support of a great cause. For the month of December, Bashas’ will hold a holiday food drive where all of the goods gathered will be brought to St. Mary’s Food Bank, United Food Bank, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and the Yuma Food Bank.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have made philanthropy and working with youth a priority as an organization and sports team. “While it is important for the D-backs to give back all year long, there’s no doubt that doing so at the holidays is particularly special,” D-backs President and CEO Derrick Hall said. “This is the time of year when every child across our state should have the opportunity to experience the joys of the season and we’re proud to have so many different events that assist in that way.”

Some of the events that Hall mentioned include the Homeward Bound shopping spree occurring on December 10th, which gives teens the opportunity to go shopping for items they would not be able to afford otherwise. The Boys & Girls Club will be hosting a holiday party on December 12th where Diamondbacks team members will play, craft, and spend time with children to continue helping them grow and reach their full potential. On December 14th, the Diamondbacks will host the Winter Classic at Chase Field where 600 students from various Title I schools and non-profit agencies can meet Santa, pet animals, craft, and train with the Diamondbacks.

Valley of the Sun United Way is an organization that serves the Arizona community all year round. Nancy Dean, the Chief Strategy and Program Officer of the nonprofit explained that their mission is to serve “throughout the year to address some of the most pressing issues facing our kids and families in our community, such as hunger, homelessness, financial stability as well as school readiness and success.” This December on the 7th and 11th, VSUW is partnering with the Salvation Army’s Christmas Tree program to help sort gifts that have been generously donated to provide Christmas gifts to children from families with high financial need. Dean expressed, “what better time than the holiday season to be a part of transforming the lives of thousands of people right here in Maricopa County.”

Audra Carver

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