Neal Vardhan Kedi

Ahwatukee dry-cleaner owner Neal Vardhan Kedi celebrates his award with, from left Susan Hallett, Marchelle Franklin and Jennifer Turn (City of Phoenix Human Services Department)

The owner of an Ahwatukee dry cleaner was one of 10 people from across the state honored for efforts to combat poverty.

 Neal Vardhan Kedia, owner of Vardhan Brothers Dry Cleaners at 4825 E. Warner Road, Ahwatukee, received a Heart in Hand Award from Wildfire, an organization previously called the Arizona Community Action Association.

Kedia “provides City of Phoenix Human Services Department clients with high-end, dry-cleaned interview attire and household bedding,” Wildfire said.  “He also dry-cleans Dress for Success clothing at no cost.”

Kedia, who was nominated by the Phoenix Human Services Department, frequently runs specials for teachers, military veterans and first responders as part of his efforts to give back to the community.

He uses his business’ Facebook page also to call attention to other charitable activities, such as an effort last December to raise money to cover funeral costs for an 18-year-old woman killed in a Pinal County traffic accident.

Last year he also dry-cleaned more than a dozen donated wedding gowns for Gowns of Love, a nonprofit that uses the material from gowns to create funeral accessories for parents of infants who have passed away.

“Our Heart in Hand honorees truly reflect our expanding mission to ignite lasting change in communities across Arizona,” said Wildfire Executive Director Cynthia Zwick.

 “These folks are making a difference every day in their communities without fanfare and often without acknowledgment. They are motivated only by their desire to do what’s right and to offer a helping hand.”

Information: wildfireaz.org.

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