During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, thousands of well-intentioned volunteers came to the areas just outside the Campus, providing food and clothing to individuals experiencing homelessness. While the Human Services Campus is grateful for their charitable spirit, a number of serious problems occur as a result of this giving:
- Health concerns: most volunteers are not licensed food handlers, which increases the risk of contamination and does not take into account people who have diabetes and other medical issues. Some volunteer groups provided alcohol, resulting in cases of alcohol poisoning requiring emergency medical care.
- Most people experiencing homelessness have no place to store the quantity of goods they receive and are forced to leave items on the street. The City of Phoenix collected 27.5 tons of trash around the Campus over the holidays!
- Providing food and clothing on the street keeps people outside the Campus and less likely to engage in services that will help them end their homelessness.
Fortunately, many volunteers have been increasingly receptive to work with the Campus and our partners such as Andre House and St Vincent de Paul. The result is a win-win for individuals experiencing homelessness and volunteers wanting to help. The ability to use commercial kitchens and pleasant dining rooms provides a safe and clean environment for everyone. The goal for 2018 is an open invitation to volunteers to work together with the Campus and also provide assistance throughout the year, particularly over the summer months when fewer resources are available. If you are interested in volunteering for food services on the Campus, please contact St Vincent de Paul at 602-261-6886 or Andre House at 602-255-0580, Ext. 302.