Celebrating 50 years of action-packed service!

January 2016

We're 50!!!!!!!!

This new year marks the 50th year Tempe Community Action Agency has been serving the Tempe community via programs that help seniors, the disabled, the working poor, families and the homeless.

TCAA started as a community garden and food co-op. Residents Lupe Esquer and Barbara Norton saw a need for additional services to the seniors, working poor and children in the community, and formed a Community Action Agency to help these neighbors. Today, we operate three senior centers, a food pantry, Tempe's only homeless shelter (in conjunction with 10 host and 16 supporting area congregations), Health Start for families, and much more. We estimate that our programs positively impact 1 out of every 4 Tempe residents. 

Throughout this anniversary year, we plan to celebrate in various ways. For example, we'll have a traveling exhibit that highlights our programs, people, partnerships and impact -- look for it around town. We'll also host a celebration for our donors and volunteers in May -- watch your mailbox. We have a few other ideas up our sleeve and we'll keep you posted as they develop.

In the meantime, will you consider joining us in celebration by giving TCAA an anniversary gift of $50 for 50 Years? All our anniversary donors will be recognized at the end of the year in a very special way.

We continue to evolve with the times and the needs of our community. We look forward to your continued support and involvement, as without it, we wouldn't have made it this far!


Bill Epps
Executive Director  


Join us on Saturday, April 9 at Kiwanis Park for the second annual I-HELP Walk/Run for the Homeless. Last year, 250 walkers raised $8,250 to support the program that provides the only homeless shelter in the City of Tempe.

The 5K route can be strolled casually with your friends or run as a challenge against your fellow athletes. There also will be a 1-mile route and a kids fun run. All ages are welcome. We hope you will set up a team of friends and family, working together to raise the funds needed to keep this program running -- our goal this year is $20,000.

To register and set up your team's fundraising page, click here.

TCAA Spotlight:  
Escalante Senior Center Participant Douglas Weekly 
For the past year and a half,  Douglas Weekly (center of photo) has become a regular participant at the Escalante Senior Center. Douglas has been deaf since the age of six but this disability does not hold him back from participating in Center activities. One of his favorites is the Drumming Sounds Class with Andrew Ecker.

The class is focused on Healthy Rhythms. Douglas uses special ear aids so that he can feel the rhythm of the beats on his drum. Andrew is excellent at leading the drumming circle with emotions relating to the rhythms. Douglas is able to pick up on this and becomes emotional as he is moved by the experience.

Every Tuesday and Thursday Douglas enthusiastically joins the Bingo group where the numbers light up on a board. When he wins a game, he rings a bell or joyously shouts his own way, "Bingo!"  He seems to be a lucky one and wins often.

Special event parties are fun for all the seniors, but Douglas takes it seriously by always coming in party theme attire. He loves to dance and is good at it. Again, he uses the special ear aids to feel the rhythm of the music. He is one of the best dancers at the Center and loves showing off his dance moves.

All the seniors and staff look forward to having Douglas at the Senior Center. Communication isn't an issue -- there are dry erase boards to write on or some are even learning simple sign language.

The Clark Park Farmers Market is held each Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. TCAA receives 10% of the sales at the Market. Holiday activities at the market in December also encouraged toy donations for the annual Toy Shoppe, as well as food for the TCAA Pantry. 
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The Holidays Were Brighter Thanks to 
Your Help!

TCAA was able to make the holidays a little brighter with your donations and volunteer commitment. For Thanksgiving, we were able to provide 160 turkeys to area families thanks to donations from Edward Jones, Safeway and the community. We also provided food boxes to 300 families during Thanksgiving week. 

Our Holiday Toy Shoppe brought joy to more than 800 area children, providing their parents with gifts and wrapping paper so there could be something under the Christmas tree this year. Big thanks to IKEA again this year for providing the donation drop-off point and Toy Shoppe space. 

The event would not have been possible without the generous donations from the community, and organizations like the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department that brought six carts of toys! 

A special thank you goes out to Edward Jones for their $2,500 contribution to Toy Shoppe. We also appreciate the support provided by Arizona State University, the City of Tempe,  the Pulliam Foundation Alumni Association, Artesyn Embedded Technologies, Logan Simpson, Tempe Tourism and many individuals in the community.