GCU & CityServe Create Distribution System to Aid Arizona Families in Need

PHOENIX, AZ – Grand Canyon University (GCU) and CityServe released a joint media advisory today announcing a new collaborative service to aid needy families in Arizona.

A 35,000-square-foot warehouse on the university campus will be converted to become a distribution hub for food and essential household items for more than 100 points of distribution (PODS).

Grand Canyon University (GCU) and CityServe released a joint media advisory today announcing a new collaborative service to aid needy families in Arizona.
GCU students loading food boxes on Good Friday. Photo by news.gcu.edu

The formal opening will take place at 10:00 a.m., Monday, May 10, at the GCU Canyon Activities Center at 3300 W Camelback Road in Phoenix.

CityServe is a nationwide network mobilizing local churches and organizations across the country to provide aid to those in need. GCU is the first university to serve as a hub for CityServe.

CityServe has risen to prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the primary distributors of food boxes during the USDA-sponsored Farmers-to-Families campaign. That campaign introduced CityServe and GCU to each other in December.

To date, the two organizations have distributed about 18,000 food boxes, including 2,300 boxes from Shamrock Farms on Good Friday. Just a day earlier, GCU had received a call advising them that Shamrock had three truckloads of fresh food ready for immediate distribution.

Only divine intervention could have made that Good Friday distribution possible as most of GCU’s partner organizations were out of the office for the holy day weekend. Nonetheless, enough volunteers participated and were able to distribute the entire 2,300 boxes to joyful recipients.

The GCU / CityServe collaboration is now positioned to become permanent. The strategic plan includes partnering with volunteers at more than 100 points of distribution (PODs). The churches, schools, and service organizations that become PODs will distribute goods from the GCU hub to families in need. GCU has already identified the first 40 PODs.

The new effort goes beyond food distribution to include products such as clothing, heaters, fans, blankets, furniture, mattresses, and other essential items donated by major retailers such as Amazon, Costco, Home Depot, and Lowe’s.

The strategic plan calls for yet another phase of the initiative. The second phase will provide long-term assistance to help Phoenix-area families break the cycle of poverty. Families in need will be able to participate in job readiness, tutoring, fiscal literacy, addiction counseling, business development, health clinics, and other services at each of the GCU’s nine colleges in the metro area.

Reflecting on the Good Friday distribution event, GCU student Luke Light said,

“I think the whole purpose for living life like Christ is to represent things that He would do, so not just saying it but putting our faith into action and showing we’re here for the area, we’re here for our families.”

Isn’t it ironic that when the hearts of believers are moved to help others – in the U.S. or elsewhere – it always demonstrates the nature of our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ?

Read more news on Faith Based Organizations, Disaster Relief and the COVID 19 Pandemic.

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