Health care, love, organ donation, family insurance and CSR concept. adult and child hands holding handmade red heart on wooden background.

Christy called from Kentucky to ask the question I receive from all over the country: “Who in my state provides children in foster care here with all that Arizona Helping Hands does for kids in Arizona?” 

 My response is always the same:  There is only one Arizona Helping Hands.

We are the largest provider of essential needs to children who are in Arizona’s foster care system. We provide children with a safe place to sleep – their very own twin bed or crib. We also support families with clothing for children who are placed in care with nothing but the clothes on their back.  

Other programs include assistance with diapers, personal care products, a footlocker to store their treasured belongings, school supplies and backpacks.

  We also celebrate children with a personalized gift package at the holidays, and even more importantly, when their birthday rolls around each year.

When a child is placed in the foster care system, the Department of Child Safety (DCS) provides a resource packet to the placement home, explaining how to access support services.  AHH is at the top of this list. 

 We strive to fulfill all the essential, immediate needs for children through our myriad of programs.

In 2013, we stepped into a void in Arizona’s network of nonprofits with the objective of bringing hope to children who had been abused and neglected.  

Since then, we have provided more than 17,000 children with a safe place to sleep and celebrated birthdays for 12,000+.  This has been a monumental undertaking, but our small staff, supplemented by an army of volunteers, and supported by a community that cares, has made this work possible.

I have met many nonprofit leaders whose organizations provide a few of the services foster families receive from AHH, but have found no organization in the nation that does all that we do for a statewide population of boys and girls. 

Our growth has been fueled primarily by Arizonans who have chosen to donate to us through the Arizona Foster Care Tax Credit.  Every Arizona taxpayer has an opportunity to donate to our work and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit when they file their state tax return. 

 Married couples can donate $1,000 and single taxpayers can donate $500. These funds are primarily used by us to buy beds and cribs to give children safety and comfort in young lives that have not had enough of either.  

Tax credit donations are the only reason we exist and can do so much for our most fragile children.

Mike Faust, the director of DCS, wrote to say, “Congratulations on providing 17,000 beds and cribs to our foster youth.  Thank you, Arizona Helping Hands, for your tireless efforts to raise the level of love and support for Arizona’s most vulnerable children experiencing foster care.”

Our tireless efforts enable us to support Jordan, a six-year-old Native American who has been in multiple placements and is now in search of a forever home; Lydia, a grandmother who, in an instant, became the 24/7 caregiver to 4 grandchildren, and thousands of other families and children who have come to us for assistance. 

We are very proud to not duplicate services, to utilize 93 cents of every donated dollar for program service expenses, and to be a one-of-a-kind organization both here and nationwide.  

We are so appreciative to all who make it possible for us to say to Christy, and to all, that there is only one Arizona Helping Hands

Information: azhelpinghands.org.

Dan Shufelt is founder and director of Arizona Helping Hands.

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