GCU, CityServe creating major distribution HUB
(May 10, 2021) – Grand Canyon University and CityServe are partnering to create a major distribution HUB on the GCU campus that will provide thousands of household goods to needy families in Arizona.
GCU is creating a 35,000-square-foot warehouse on campus that will house products such as clothing, heaters, fans, blankets, furniture, mattresses, food boxes and other essential items provided by major retailers through CityServe. The GCU HUB – powered mostly by volunteers – will provide the items to PODs, or points of distribution, such as churches, schools and social service organizations that will then distribute them directly to families in need. GCU has already identified 40 community partners that will serve as PODs and plans to connect to more than 100 eventually.
“This partnership with CityServe is a natural extension of our broader outreach efforts and our five-point plan to transform our surrounding community,” GCU President Brian Mueller said. “CityServe is making a significant impact across the country by empowering local churches and service organizations to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help those in need. Their mission aligns perfectly with GCU and we look forward to not only partnering with them to provide essential household goods, but also extending that impact by providing further assistance to those families.”
Formed in 2017, CityServe is a collaborative network of faith-based non-profits, corporate, retail, farm and food supply partnerships that provide resources and empower them to make a greater impact in the world. To date, CityServe has distributed 15 million food boxes to communities through the Faith-Based Community for Farmers to Families partnership and has distributed $749 million worth of household goods – impacting more than 62 million people.
CityServe receives donations as well as surplus supplies from businesses such as Amazon, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s and other large retailers. Its structure is unique in that it incorporates a grassroots effort in which PODs identify families in need and are able to form relationships with those families.
“GCU will become a model for CityServe’s university-based vision to equip and mobilize students to meet community needs and to help families move from dependency to sustainability,” CityServe CEO Dave Donaldson said.
CityServe has over 2,000 HUBs in the U.S. – the largest of which is in Bakersfield, Calif., where $100 million worth of merchandise has been distributed. The Bakersfield HUB serves an average of 9,000 adults and 5,760 children each month. Mueller envisions a similar impact from the GCU hub, which will begin distributing goods this fall.
“There is a lot of need in our neighborhood, throughout Phoenix and Arizona,” Mueller said. “We want to assist by not only providing essential household goods to those families but, once we get to know the families, we want to take that relationship further by providing long-term assistance through our nine colleges in areas such as job readiness, tutoring, fiscal literacy, addiction counseling, health clinics or business development. The hope is to completely change the trajectory of those families and put them on a path toward prosperity.”
The GCU-CityServe partnership initially formed in December when the University began providing food boxes from Shamrock Farms to organizations in Phoenix through the Farmers to Families program. To date, approximately 18,000 boxes of food have been distributed through GCU. That partnership will now be extended through the creation of the GCU hub and warehouse to distribute other types of goods to those needing assistance.
“It has been a joy to partner with GCU and Shamrock Farms to provide Farmers to Families food boxes to nutrition insecure families,” Donaldson said. “The faculty and students effectively modeled this USDA program.”
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About Grand Canyon University: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is Arizona’s premier private Christian university. GCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers 270 academic programs, emphases and certificates for both traditional undergraduate students and working professionals. The University’s curriculum emphasizes interaction with classmates, both in-person and online, and individual attention from instructors while fusing academic rigor with Christian values to help students find their purpose and become skilled, caring professionals. For more information, visit gcu.edu.
About CityServe: CityServe is a collaborative network of churches and community leaders who help those in need live better lives. CityServe empowers the local church to fulfill its purpose to overcome despair and transform lives by resourcing them with tangible goods and capacity building. CityServe brings the church to the table to address community challenges by offering long-lasting relationships that lead to transformation and has been designated a “Community of Faith and Opportunity” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information about CityServe and its initiatives, please visit https://cityserve.us/ or on social platforms @cityservehq.