PROJECT HOMELESS HOLIDAY FINAL
What started out as a family project for Christmas turned into the major heartwarming proof that 2020 was not entirely all bad. I had planned to make up a few bags of items to give to some of the homeless people around the Surprise area instead of receiving any presents on Christmas. When Susan suggested that we include the Pickleball Club into the project, well, that took the project to an entirely different level.
Dealing with the homeless advocates in Surprise really opened our eyes. Suffice it to say, a lot of lessons learned.
Thanks to the club members and our Communities Board of Directors generosity, we were able to collect 100 backpacks, tons of non-perishable food items, socks, blankets, gift cards, over 50 new and used coats and almost $3200. After filling 3 pickup trucks with the items donated, we had money left over to buy some much needed items for the homeless advocates pop up soup kitchen. The extra money bought a pop-up gazebo, flooring, cooking burner units, tabletop heaters and soup pots. The final $150 left over will be spent on bulk meats to make 2 different meals to be fed to the homeless over the next month.
I still have 17 filled backpacks that are available for club members to pass out if they desire. 3 have already been taken. Susan gave 1 out last night by WinCo to a homeless vet and it really makes your heart happy to do something for others.
I think that we as a club really made a difference during this holiday season. I hope everyone has a terrific holiday and stays safe and happy.
Below is a letter from the advocate group.
You, Susan, and the Sun City Grand Pickleball Club have been absolutely great! The homeless meeting tonight was well received, and the backpacks the Pickleball Club provided were the hit of the evening. It was like Christmas morning to them. The greeting card, cash and gift cards were a delightful surprise to them. We distributed all the coats, loose blankets, and twenty–one backpacks tonight. The cold evening kept many of the familiar faces who decided to huddle up in their tents and sleeping bags, in order to stay warm, and so they did not appear. The individuals that did show up, were fed spaghetti and chicken parmesan with buttered rolls, and canned peaches for dessert. Your cases of water, along with donated Powerade and soft drinks served as the refreshments. We passed out bagged food stuffs and fruit, so they have something to eat tomorrow as well.
We explained that next Friday is Christmas Day, and that we would not be able to serve them on Friday. Instead, we will spend next Saturday cooking a special Christmas dinner for them. Those who attended tonight will tell by word of mouth about the date change, the backpacks, and the special Christmas dinner. It should be well received.
We dropped off ten backpacks to the City of Surprise Resource Center this morning. This office handles the city programs that assist the community homeless who are homeless due to normal circumstances such as job loss via downsizing, medical issues, or injury. These are the homeless that are employable to many businesses. Those unable to be assisted because of employability issues, such as addiction or emotional/mental distress, are turned away. The backpacks are intended for them and serve to soften that rejection. You do not know how special this donation drive has been, and the effect it has on so many people you will probably never meet. The city employees were astounded by your generosity. No one enters their doorway and hands them such items, to give to those their office programs are unable to assist. Your club is an incredibly special group.
Over the next week, we expect to reach out to twenty-five other homeless individuals in the community. We learned about this group of indigents from the Surprise Police Department. We will be introduced to the group by the involved off duty police officers. It is best to utilize those officers, because the indigents are familiar with them, and we can piggyback on that trust to quickly build a relationship that normally takes months to establish. Passing out the backpacks and providing bundles of packaged foods shows them others do care about them.
It should leave us with about thirty backpacks for the upcoming Saturday. Just wanted you to be able to report the progress to the club. These donated items go quickly to those in need.
Thank you again