Volunteerism is fuel for impactful Scottsdale outreach pursuits

Vista Del Camino volunteer George Galliher has been offering his expertise to those seeking help at the Vista Del Camino Career Center for the past decade. (Independent Newsmedia/Terrance Thornton)

While the need continues to grow, Scottsdale outreach officials contend without the dedication of community advocates, public safety officials and local volunteers there might not be a light at the end of the tunnel for many.

Organizations like the Scottsdale Charros who for the past 57 years, have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

Over the last calendar year, The Charro Foundation has provided more than $300,000 to local nonprofits and since its inception in the late 1960s, the Charros — a completely volunteer endeavor — has given millions to the disenfranchised of Scottsdale.

In addition, organizations like the Scottsdale Firefighter Charities and Partners for Paiute along with Scottsdale Cares, which is a program where monetary donations can be made through a resident’s utility bill are making a difference every day in the lives of those in need.

The Fire Fighters Charities has recently developed a program called “12 Months of Caring.” Working in collaboration with Scottsdale’s Vista del Camino Food Bank officials there say they want to help feed more families every day.

Scottsdale Fire Fighters Charities launched the “12 Months of Caring” project in June that will help provide food to Scottsdale families who have challenges putting food on their tables. (Submitted photo)

“We have families here in Scottsdale, and they struggle, we have a ton of young families and the elderly who live on a fixed income,” said Scottsdale Fire Capt. Peter Tocca, who also serves as director of Fire Fighters Charities. “They, at times, are struggling to feed their kids.”

Capt. Tocca says the most vulnerable of our community are dealing with extenuating circumstances.

“They will get prescribed medication and they won’t take them because it’s the medicine or food,” he said of situations he has witnessed first-hand. “A lot of the elderly rely on the ER doctors because they can’t afford a regular doctor.”

The firefighters of Scottsdale are serious in their outreach effort as each of the 15 local stations now serve as make-shift food pantries taking collections every day of the week, 24 hours a day.

When asked why he goes beyond the call of duty, helping others through his work with the Firefighter Charities, Capt. Tocca replied, “it’s just the right thing to do.”

“One person can’t change the world, but one person can change one person’s world,” he pointed out. “It’s just part of a civilized society and we are supposed to take care of one another. Sometimes people just need a little bit of help sometimes.”

George Galliher, a Vista Del Camino Career Center volunteer, agrees with Capt. Tocca.

“Well, I’ve been retired twice and I have been volunteering here for about 10 years,” he said at Vista Del Camino in between career center consultations. “I guess I do it because I wanted to give back.”


Mr. Galliher says he wouldn’t have accomplished what he did in his life if it wasn’t for people helping him along the way.

“I have people that I have wanted to help,” he explained. “I guess because I have people who have helped me.”

But a real lesson Mr. Galliher says he has learned over the years offering his advice on job searches, resume writing and interview tips is the old adage: you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink is an accurate statement.

“I was never looking for something back,” he said. “You can’t help everybody, they have to help themselves — you can show them the way but they have to make the trip themselves.”

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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