Several years ago when the Kyrene School District decided to use money from bonds to build a permanent location for its Kyrene Family Resource Center, officials could not have predicted how crucial a haven it would be for families struggling to make ends meet.
On Wednesday, KSD staff celebrated the grand opening of the resource center, and Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. a grand opening celebration will take place for the public with ribbon cuttings by the Ahwatukee Foothills and Tempe chambers of commerce.
The new building on the Kyrene de los Ninos Elementary School campus, 1330 E. Dava Drive in Tempe, will be open to all KSD parents and students in need.
At the staff grand opening, Superintendent David Schauer noted how much the resource center had grown since its inception as the Kyrene Kids Corner in 1992.
“This has gone from a small facility no one knew existed to something the entire community depends on,” Schauer said.
Students and their families are referred to the facility by staff members from their children’s school.
“The resource center will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays or by appointment for people to drop in and pick up clothes, shoes, food and school supplies,” said Amanda Hamm, at-risk child prevention manager for KSD. “We also have an adult education room that local businesses or nonprofit organizations can rent out for meetings.”
As always, the resource center is seeking donations to keep the center fully stocked. Currently, the facility is looking for a stackable washer and dryer. The new building has large doors that can accommodate palettes for sizable donations.
“We’re here and available to support families and students who need help,” said Brenda Miller, vice president of the Kyrene Schools Community Foundation. “A lot of people in the community don’t even know that there is a need, but we are here to help.”
Jennifer Dennis, a social worker from Kyrene de las Lomas Elementary School, is looking forward to the new opportunities the resource center will present to families in need.
“When kids come to my office and don’t have clothing or dinner at night, it is a great feeling to be able to refer them to the resource center where they can get help,” she said.
Yvonne Crudup, a 10-year Kyrene Family Resource volunteer, said she started volunteering at the center when her boys entered middle school.
“I remember handing a package of new underwear to a girl once, and she handed them back and asked me if I knew that they were new,” Crudup said. “She had never had a new pair of underwear before, and that is a story that has stuck with me for years.”
Five-year volunteer Debbie Pettas is excited to be working out of the new building.
“The building is beautiful, and it will make our jobs so much easier,” Pettas said. “We’ll be able to accommodate more people because everything is organized.”
For more information on donating items or volunteering for the Kyrene Family Resource Center, visit www.kyrene.org/kfrc.