Can you help Apache Junction, Gold Canyon nonprofit charities?

Apache Junction and Gold Canyon have nonprofit organizations that rely on volunteers and charitable donations from area residents and businesses.

They include the Apache Junction Food Bank, which takes care of 40,000 people a year, with the largest increase this year with those who are senior citizens, JoElle Hurns, executive director, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“While most of our data shows we are relatively flat year over year – last year being our record number – there is a growth in the senior segment. We are helping about 800-1,000 more seniors this year than last,” she said.

“Many have told me after 2007, their savings dwindled, they lost their homes, their retirement money shrunk or is gone now and they are too old to re-enter the marketplace. Rents have increased and we are hearing that a lot from our clients. About 60 percent of our families actually have an adult in the home working full time, they just don’t have enough grocery money when their bills are paid,” Ms. Hurns said.

The nonprofit, 575 N. Idaho Road No. 701, provides food 2-4 p.m. four days a week – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Current needs at the food bank include additional funding, volunteers and more board members, she said.

A food bank for Gold Canyon has increased in size from storage in a closet years ago to a refurbished building this past year, Jeff Downing, manager at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church Food Bank, said in an e-mailed response to questions. It is now at 8330 E. Sunrise Sky Drive and Kings Ranch Road.

“The total number of individual clients assisted this year remained similar to 2016 at 10,300,” he said.

In 2018 the food bank needs a volunteer with a truck who could assist with the transportation of donated fresh food, he said.
Genesis Project, 564 N. Idaho Road in Apache Junction, this year had much-needed air-conditioning units paid with donations by local faith community and businesses, Judy Sparks, secretary/treasurer, said in an e-mailed response to questions. To further help feed the hungry and the homeless in east Mesa, Apache Junction and Gold Canyon, the nonprofit needs a volunteer grant writer, she said.
The need for trained service and therapy dogs continues to increase at Paws 4 Life, but a portion of the training area needs to be refurbished because of vandalism, Tuni House, who formed the organization in 2007, said.

“We need to have our agility area done again as teens had a party there during break and damaged some of our agility equipment and these items were donated to us by the people that hand built them,” Mrs. House in an e-mailed response to questions. “We need to open that back up again. But cannot until new equipment and repairs done,” she said.

A storage shed and outside heaters for training in the winter are needed in the next year, she said.

400 women helped

Hope Women’s Center, 252 N. Ironwood Drive in Apache Junction, a resource and referral center for women and teen girls, is on track to exceed last year’s numbers of clients served, programs offered and opportunities for impact, Tammy Abernethy, CEO, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“Through October we served more than 400 women at our Apache Junction Center and more than 1,000 women at all our centers across the Valley,” she said.

For 2018, the center’s biggest needs are material resources for its clients, such as donations of cleaning supplies, toiletries, size 5 and 6 diapers, she said.

350 survivors helped

Community Alliance Against Family Abuse, based in Apache Junction, provides comprehensive services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. In 2018 the organization will mark its 20th anniversary.

CAAFA’s participant numbers in 2017 have remained pretty consistent from prior years, Danielle Webster, grants manager at CAAFA, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“So far in 2017, we have housed 105 domestic- and sexual-violence survivors – adults and children – in our crisis shelter and provided advocacy and support to more than 350 survivors in the community,” she said.

A goal for 2018 is to diversify funding and achieve increased financial sustainability, Ms. Webster said.

Also celebrating 20 years

The Gold Canyon Arts Council, which produces six Canyon Sounds Series performances each season and the Gold Canyon Arts Festival in January, also promotes student arts education, Chuck Cuffaro, a member of the council, said in an e-mailed response to questions.
“Funds received allowed us to expand our mission to include donating musical instruments and instructions to regional schools. In 2017, we donated 30-40 guitars along with playing instructions via a partnership with ‘Lead Guitar,’ another nonprofit devoted to music education,” he said.

A goal for 2018 is to get additional members, he said.

“As we continue to succeed with our mission, we strive for continued revenue/funding via increased membership, grants, donations and attendance at our Canyon Sounds performances. Like any organization, we are challenged by ever-increasing operational expenses for artists, publicity, productions, residencies, etc.,” he said.

Stopping drugs

The Apache Junction Drug Prevention Coalition is a group of like-minded individuals who are working to build a safe and drug-free community, Shelly Verley, co-chair, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

In 2017, the coalition provided karts and goggles to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program that mimic driving while under the influence, she said.

“In 2018, in addition to continuing to utilize the karts and goggles and have a presence at various events, we are hoping to hold fundraisers so we can provide safe alternatives for kids and parents of AJ. For example, we would like to provide a sleepover event for New Year’s Eve so parents can drop off their children and celebrate without worrying about picking their kids up until the next morning,” Ms. Verley said.

Proposing park in foothills

The Superstition Area Land Trust, an all-volunteer organization, is leading a new regional task force to investigate the possibility of conserving the Superstition Foothills as a destination park, Charlie Goff, SALT president, said in an e-mailed response to questions.
“A ‘who’s who’ among the movers and shakers in what they refer to as the East Valley Extended, the group is touting the park’s value as an economic and tourism driver and in offering recreational and conservation benefits for the entire area,” Mr. Goff said.
A goal for 2018 is to find more volunteers, he said.

Saving the state park

Friends of Lost Dutchman State Park is a nonprofit organization formed in 2010 in response to the planned closure of the park, 6109 N. Apache Trail, Kim Grady, member, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

The group this year completed the first phase of a Solar Trail Project.

“A solar trail is a to-scale-model of our solar system with ‘features’ placed along the trail representing the major celestial bodies in our solar system,” Ms. Grady said.

One goal for 2018 is to get more volunteers for fundraising events, she said.

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Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at

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