Blog Archives

“Communities Take Root” in South Phoenix

Last year St. Vincent de Paul, a nonprofit that provides food, health care, shelter and other services for the homeless and working poor won a grant through Dreyer’s Fruit Bars as part of their “Communities Take Root” Program to plant a fruit orchard at their downtown campus. The ceremonial planting is taking place next Thursday, March 24 at 11 a.m. at Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 420 W. Watkins Rd, Phoenix, Arizona.

50 fruit trees of varying types of citrus will be planted and will help beautify the area along 3rd Drive, just south of I-17 and also provide fresh fruit for the hundreds of working-poor families that come to St. Vincent de Paul’s Family Evening Meal program.

The schedule of events is:

  • 11:00 am:  Project overview and introductions (Society of St. Vincent de Paul: Fruit Tree Planting Foundation; Dreyer’s Fruit Bars)
  • 11:15 am – 11:30 am:  Ceremonial Tree Planting/Photo Opportunity
  • 11:30 am – 1:30 pm:  Tree planting; Dreyer’s Fruit Bars sampling

Representatives from St. Vincent de Paul, the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Dreyer’s will be on hand to plant the trees, with Dreyer’s providing refreshing Dreyer’s Fruit Bars to members of the community.


Arizona State Archives building: dedicated in January, closed in March

[Source: Bill Coates, Arizona Capitol Times] — As principal investigator for Arizona Historical Research, Vince Murray’s livelihood depends on access to Arizona state archives.  That access was severely curtailed March 4, when the new Polly Rosenbaum Arizona Archives and History Building was closed to the public, except by appointment.  And then for only two half-days a week.

Blame budget cuts.  For Murray, it means a project that used to take two weeks now could take more than two months.  “On any typical project, there’s going to be 40 to 80 hours of research,” Murray said.  “Well, here, you’ve got — what? — eight hours that you’re allowed to do it in a week.”  Clients for his historical consulting firm include state agencies, he said.

The archives closure was perhaps the most notable cost-cutting move by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records department.  Other divisions are operating on reduced hours, said GladysAnn Wells, the agency’s director.  Until the cuts, the library department had $2 million in operating funds, expected to carry it until June 30, the fiscal year’s end.  In January, however, the Legislature reduced that by nearly $1.5 million, she said.  There was one place to cut, Wells said.  “All we had left, really, was salaries,” she said.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Needy flood increasingly strapped Phoenix charities

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — The grim economy has driven Valley residents to turn to charities of last resort: shelters and food banks.  The economy is also taking a toll on the non-profits that are helping them.  St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance gave away 70 percent more food to needy families this past December than it did the same month in 2007.  Officials say food programs will be scaled back unless they receive more donations.

In six months, the number of people who line up for a free breakfast has roughly doubled at downtown Phoenix’s Human Services Campus. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, an agency that serves meals there, had to lay off eight workers and stopped serving lunch to the needy in Sunnyslope because donations are down.  At the campus, volunteers and employees help handle housekeeping duties because of staff cutbacks, one official said.

Each night, more than 300 people sleep in the parking lot of one Phoenix homeless shelter for men because there’s no room left inside of the building.  Central Arizona Shelter Services, the non-profit that runs that shelter and two others, lost $118,000 of the $839,000 that it used to get annually from Phoenix, a victim of city budget cuts.  Maricopa County, another major funding source, is weighing whether to cut its CASS contribution by half. Maricopa County contributes $600,000 to CASS programs, roughly 10 percent of its $6 million annual operating budget, Jennifer Dangremond, CASS’s development director.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]