Chandler charity helping families in need SanTan Sun News

Chandler charity helping families in need

December 31st, 2020 SanTan Sun News
Chandler charity helping families in need
Neighbors
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By Allison Hurtado
Contributor

When Kelly and Jim Shewbridge met their three young foster daughters, the girls arrived with no shoes, clothes that didn’t fit the weather and not even a spare diaper to get through the next hour.
“It was heartbreaking,” Kelly said. “We had to run straight to the store just to get through the night.”
It’s a common story for many children entering the foster care system.
That’s why an organization like FANS Across America Foundation in Chandler is important and why their new partnership with Child Crisis Arizona is so valuable.
FANS has been in Chandler for more than 10 years, providing essential items like clothes, household items, hygiene items, diapers and more to families and youth experiencing homelessness, poverty and domestic violence.
Many times the families are referred to FANS through their school district but they also get referrals from the Arizona Department of Child Safety, Tribal Social Services, domestic violence shelters and Chandler’s victim services department.
In 2019, the foundation provided over 100,000 items of daily items of necessity, over 97,000 diapers and diapering supplies, 700 fully stocked school backpacks, and 2500 holiday gifts.
Working with the Chandler Compadres, the nonprofit this year started the FANS-Compadres Kids Closets, satellite locations of the FANS Locker Room.
FANS provides on-site continuing emergency daily living necessities, as needed, consisting of daily hygiene items, lice shampoo kits, diapers, school needs, socks and underwear to help a child through the day and parents with one-time emergency assistance.
Kids Closets were established at Chandler Care Center, CUSD Instructional Resource Center, CUSD Federal Programs, ICAN, Chandler Boys and Girls Club, CAAFA (Community Alliance Against Family Abuse), My Sisters Place DV Shelter (Chandler), St. Peter Mission School on the Gila Reservation, Jose’s Closet, Higley Unified and Family of God Ministry.
The FANS-Compadres Kids Closets continues to expand and in 2020 over 25,000 emergency items were distributed.
The foundation also distributed over 97,000 diapers and supplies through its Diaper Bank.
The foundation started the bank in 2016, noting “families didn’t have the financial resources to purchase diapers and supplies on a consistent basis.
“Our research found that 32 percent of low-income families report re-using diapers because they lack the financial resources to purchase them,” the foundation says on its website.
“Further studies showed that reusing diapers may result in severe diaper rash, staph infections and great discomfort to the child,” it said. “On average, a baby uses eight diapers a day and the FANS – Compadres Diaper Bank provides a five-day emergency supply of diapers and supplies (baby wipes and cream) for referred families.”
Families can return to FANS by appointment three additional times without needing a new referral from their social services case manager.
This year FANS has partnered with Child Crisis Arizona to provide more resources for those in need, especially foster families like Shewbridge’s.
“The foster families we work with at Child Crisis Arizona are simply amazing,” said Torrie Taj, CEO of Child Crisis Arizona.
“They give and give and give and this new partnership helps our agency enhance the support we give back to them. We also serve children and families in need in the community and our mission aligns with FANS. We all have the same vision of safe kids and strong families.”
George Macedon, president/executive director of FANS, said the organization began as a small operation, usually trading the promise of a tax credit for items at garage sales and re-distributing those items to families through the school district.
Now the organization quietly serves thousands of families and children each year from their headquarters in Chandler. Over the holidays they provided gifts to about 1,200 children.
“You get to a point where you’re too big to be small and too small to be big,” he said. “That’s why we’re partnering with Child Crisis Arizona. We’re elated to take our service to the next level.”
The two organizations celebrated by filling the Shewbridges’ car with gifts for the holidays and clothes for the children.
“We’re just so grateful,” Kelly said. “The girls are just so genuine in their appreciation of all that they have now. We are just so grateful to have them in our lives.”
The community can help support efforts of both organizations financially by utilizing their Arizona state tax credits.
FANS is a Qualified Charitable Organization (QCO) and donations can be made at fansacrossamerica.org. Child Crisis Arizona is a Qualified Foster Care Organization (QFCO).
Donations to either or both organizations qualify for a dollar-for-dollar tax credit against your Arizona state tax liability. For more information call 480-834-9424 or visit childcrisisaz.org or fansacrossamerica.org.

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