Scottsdale Charros aid Arizona Helping Hands give comfort to foster children

The 501(c)3 nonprofit Arizona Helping Hands delieverd more than 15,000 beds to children within the Arizona foster home system. (Submitted photo)

The 501(c)3 nonprofit Arizona Helping Hands delivered more than 1,500 beds to children within the Arizona foster home system. (Submitted photo)

On any day of the week there are, on average, 35 children in the state of Arizona who will sleep in a place different than the one in which they woke, and the viscous cycle starts anew with the rising sun.

As of March 2015 there are 15,000 boys and girls who are in the Arizona foster care system, according to Arizona Helping Hands President and CEO Dan Shufelt.

“There are more kids in the foster care system in Arizona than there are people in Payson,” he said of a common mantra he tells folks to illustrate the large population of displaced children in Arizona. “In March of 2015 there were 18,000 kids in the foster care system in Arizona. Oftentimes they have been removed form one situation and put into another.”

Arizona Helping Hands, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, seeks to support foster and indigent families at times of crisis or need by providing to them basic essentials such as bedding, clothes, personal effects, holiday and special occasion toys, school supplies and emergency assistance, the organization’s mission statement states.

According to Mr. Shufelt, Arizona Helping Hands provides twin beds, cribs, clothing, diapers, high chairs, books and other items to help boys and girls in foster care.

“What we are trying to do is give that child a safe place to sleep,” he explained. “Forty-five percent of these kids are in kinship, which means they are placed with an aunt or uncle. We provide beds and cribs to both licensed foster care and kinship homes — that’s our mission.”

Mr. Shufelt explains foster car children are oftentimes placed in care with very few possessions and kinship placements typically do not come with monetary benefits assigned through the state of Arizona.

“It is a wide range of situations. It is never nice. On the gentler side there are financial and health issues, but neglect and drug abuse are the large reasons that children enter foster care,” he explained.

“We meet families every day that are crying on our shoulders — crying tears of joy. These children are thrust into these circumstances and these families need help. They want to try and keep their family together. We can at least give these people basic necessities.”

Helping to provide those basics is what the Scottsdale Charros are doing through a $4,750 grant allocation to go toward providing bed, cribs and basic necessities to children in need throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area.

“Our services, as word has been spreading, we will, in 2015, provided over 1,500 kids in foster care with a bed,” Mr. Shufelt said. “We had no idea that the demand would have taken off like it has. Our services are available to any family that is caring for any child in the child safety system.”

Mr. Shufelt says the burgeoning relationship with the Scottsdale Charros is one cherished by Arizona Helping Hands.

“The Charros is a new relationship and in our continuing growth — we are one of the fastest growing nonprofits in the state — we have reached out more and more to funders and organizational foundations in the Valley that could maybe help us. The Charros were there,” he said. “We were invited to submit a grant application and very thankfully the Charros stepped up and agreed to fund us.”

To learn more about how you can help Arizona Helping Hands go to azhelpinghands.org or call 480-889-0604.

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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