GCU CityServe feeds hope at food distribution event

Volunteers on Monday load boxes of food, toiletries and women’s hygiene products into a vehicle during the Resource Rally distribution event sponsored by GCU CityServe, Feed the Children and The Reborn Church.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

When Feed the Children reached out to The Reborn Church for a chance to partner and host a food-distribution drive for families in need, the answer was an easy yes.

But there was one problem. They did not have the space to do it.

The Reborn Church turned to Grand Canyon University’s CityServe, and without a second thought, the event planning was in motion, shared Director of GCU CityServe Nathan Cooper.

“Reaching out to the community and helping those in need is very near and dear to GCU’s heart,” he said. “It was a no-brainer for us to partner with them and be able to meet the needs of the families in this area.”

Cars line up to receive boxes of food, toiletries and women’s hygiene products.

Volunteers from Feed the Children, The Reborn Church and GCU gathered in the CityServe warehouse parking lot on Monday morning to welcome families to their food-distribution drive-thru.

Recipients drove up to check-in points where they were met by cheerful volunteers ready to gift them boxes meant to meet immediate needs. A green box was filled with 25 pounds of food items, such as canned goods and perishables, and a blue box contained 15 pounds of hygiene essentials that consisted of soap, deodorant, wipes and more. Books also were handed out.

“These boxes are completely 100% donated products that we have in our distribution center,” said Feed the Children Corporate Events Director Aaron Hazel. “The things families are having to purchase are these items. This is supposed to supplement a family of four for up to a week.”

Taylor Wills (center) and volunteers load boxes into vehicles during the Resource Rally distribution event.

An additional care package contained female toiletries and Avon makeup.

“Most women don’t even take care of themselves because they are trying to figure out how to get groceries and shoes for their kids,” Hazel said. “It’s a good treat for themselves, and if it is a guy that picks it up, it’s also a good Christmas or birthday gift.”

Working in the Phoenix heat, The Reborn Church pastor Eric Manjarrez encouraged the team of volunteers with Acts 20:35: “At the end of his life, Paul says, ‘This is the example I have set before you.’ Then Paul quotes Jesus and says, ‘It’s more blessed to give than it is to receive.’

“All of you giving today, you are being blessed by Jesus, as everyone else who receives and is also blessed. We want to make an impact. Our aim is not primarily just to give to the community, but also to give them the hope of Jesus.”

Emmanuel Malaidza and about 50 volunteers organized boxes of food, toiletries and women’s hygiene products.

Through various community connections and events, all three partners visited neighboring areas before the event, where they passed out vouchers to families and invited them to participate in the humanitarian initiative.

Families drove up, with big and bright smiles, touched by the helping hands and support.

“The most rewarding part is seeing the kids’ faces, especially when they get a book for the first time,” Hazel said. “Most of the families and kids have never owned books.”

A recipient is all smiles as she receives her boxes of food and necessities.

Additional families received food and toiletries through the truck-sponsorship program. Organizations could sponsor a truck to be delivered to their community, usually with enough food and hygiene boxes for 400 families. Each time a truck delivers, those organizations host a distribution event, such as the one Monday at GCU.

Feed the Children sponsored one truck and GCU sponsored the second truck.

“To have the opportunity to be the feet and voice of Jesus Christ in the marketplace is a privilege for us, especially for this time of inflation,” shared GCU Canyon Ventures Director Robert Vera, one of the volunteers. “You have people that are really struggling, and we want to give them a lift and be that epidemic of hope.”

GCU staff writer Izabela Fogarasi can be reached at [email protected]

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Related content:

GCU News: 48 Hours at Grand Canyon University

GCU News: GCU Prayer Week starts with push for CityServe support

GCU News: Campus distribution event addresses food insecurity

GCU News: GCU-CityServe partnership delivers to those in need

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