GCU seeks gently used items for Rescue Mission

Donations of apparel and other items to the Lope Shop the week of Jan. 25 will be given to Phoenix Rescue Mission.

By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau

Grand Canyon University and Grand Canyon Education employees donate toys to Phoenix Rescue Mission at a past toy drive.

What’s up is down, what’s down is up. What’s right is left, what’s left is right. And on National Opposite Day on Jan. 25, what’s in your closet – such as gently worn or new sweatshirts and other items– will hopefully make it out of your closet, into the Lope Shop and back out into the hands of someone at Phoenix Rescue Mission.

The Lope Shop is gearing up for what started out as its National Opposite Day sale, “Give Back Get Back,” running Jan. 25-29, when those who donate slightly used sweatshirts, socks, athletic shoes, towels or linens will receive a 30% discount on Grand Canyon University apparel. The donations will be given to GCU community partner Phoenix Rescue Mission, which provides food, shelter, chapel and recovery services to homeless men, women and children and the working poor.

"It started off as an Opposite Day sale -- bring in a sweatshirt from another college and get 25% off a GCU sweatshirt -- but ... it turned into so much more," said Shelly Schrimpf, Assistant Director of Campus Retail & Licensing.

GCU is also involved in Phoenix Rescue Mission's Mission Possible Café.

Schrimpf's team started to think -- Why don’t we donate the items that are brought in? -- and connected with Debbie Accomazzo, Community Relations Director, and her team, which thought the nonprofit would be the perfect beneficiary of the donated clothing.

"It is more about giving so that the Phoenix Rescue Mission has warm clothes to distribute -- and if people don't want a GCU sweatshirt, they can still donate if they would like," Schrimpf said.

“As we talked about it more, Shelly really wanted to make this more of a focus on Phoenix Rescue Mission and philanthropy,” Accomazzo said. “That’s when we realized that we might have our second Town Hall Informational on our hands.”

The Phoenix Rescue Mission Town Hall Informational will run from 11:15 a.m. to noon Jan. 21, just a few days before the launch of the Lope Shop’s “Give Back Get Back.”

It was in early December when the Community Relations Team organized the Turkey Town Hall Informational, a Zoom meeting that was part of the Give With Purpose employee giving-back campaign. The three-week-long event benefited St. Mary’s Food Bank (results will be announced soon, Accomazzo said).

That first Zoom meeting was a way for employees to get to know St. Mary’s Food Bank and the important work it does in the community. It also was a way for them to connect the dots and see how the University works with the nonprofit to be part of the solution.

The Jan. 21 Town Hall Informational will feature representatives from Phoenix Rescue Mission who will speak about some of the nonprofit’s big projects, including the construction of a new $14.6 million, four-story men’s shelter on its campus near 35th Avenue and Durango Street. The new facility will expand the capacity of the old shelter from 170 beds to 360.

Pamela Morrison (right) speaks about Phoenix Rescue Mission's work in the community at GCU in 2017.

Phoenix Rescue Mission Community Relationship Officer Pamela Morrison also spoke recently about another project, Glendale Works, in which the organization partners with the city of Glendale to provide work opportunities to some of the mission’s clients. Individuals are paid a cash day rate to complete beautification projects and perform landscaping duties throughout Glendale.

The Town Hall Informational also will feature GCU employees whose work is closely connected with that of the nonprofit.

“We get nursing students who do their rotations for community health at our men’s campus,” Morrison said. The organization sees 24 nursing students per semester.

Counseling students also complete internships at Phoenix Rescue Mission, and hospitality students have been involved at Mission Possible Café, the organization's restaurant at 1516 W. Van Buren St. Mission Possible Café not only serves meals and its famous cookies but offers vocational skills and service management training to those going through the mission's recovery program.

“The idea is to connect our employees to our community partners,” Accomazzo said of the Town Hall Informational. “We hope anyone who’s a champion of GCU and a champion of Phoenix Rescue Mission will join in the Town Hall Informational to understand how we’re connected and the impact we’re making together.”

GCU senior writer Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or at 603-639-7901.

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Register here for the Phoenix Rescue Mission Town Hall Informational

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Related stories:

GCU Today: GCU, students help new café transform lives

GCU Today: GCU connects with Phoenix Rescue Mission

GCU Today: They talked turkey -- and how to help the food bank

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