SaddleBrooke Community Outreach Happenings

Marcia Van Ommeran has been a SBCO volunteer since 2000.

Marcia Van Ommeran has been a SBCO volunteer since 2000.

SBCO Volunteer Has Performed Many Jobs Over Two Decades

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

Every journey begins with a single step. That was true for Marcia Van Ommeran’s ongoing twenty-year sojourn as a SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) volunteer. She attended a new-members meeting about volunteer opportunities after she and her husband, Tony, moved to SaddleBrooke from Michigan in 1998. After that meeting in 2000, she became a Kids’ Closet volunteer, helping students select new wardrobes and later, a day manager organizing student paperwork for days when the Closet is open to student shoppers. She has also maintained student records and scanned clothing for computerized inventory tracking.

Over the years, Marcia has enthusiastically served on the SBCO Board of Directors, chaired the Angel Program (which became the Make a Difference Program), served as the recording secretary, created and sold tribute cards, and delivered Source Books to local doorsteps. In addition, she has supported SBCO’s Walkathon, Home Tour, and Food Drive special events. Marcia has also volunteered for Teen Closet and worked as a receptionist at the SBCO office. In support of SBCO’s educational activities Marcia has been a scholarship recipient mentor and a tutor for local students. Her tutoring in the San Manuel Schools even led to employment for eight years as a substitute teacher.

It is obvious why in the past Marcia has been selected as SBCO’s Volunteer of the Year and Grand Marshal of the Walkathon. Her commitment to the organization and the students it serves has been unstinting. She willingly completes a lot of the behind-the-scenes computer work essential to SBCO’s programs, but especially enjoys working directly with students—from Head Start preschoolers through teenagers.

Marcia says that one of her most memorable volunteer experiences occurred while helping a six-year-old girl select her wardrobe at Kids’ Closet. The little girl was thrilled when given a package of little girls’ panties. The girl quickly hugged the package and ignored the other clothing saying that she only had brothers and had never before owned girls’ underwear. Another special moment occurred when a father who had been referred by Social Services, brought his young daughter to Kids’ Closet to get a warm winter jacket. He was overwhelmed as the number of items she was receiving increased. When he received the huge filled bag, he broke down and cried. He thought she was only going to be given a used coat.

The greatest benefit Marcia says she derives from being a SBCO volunteer is knowing that she is helping others.

“Sometimes we live in their own little bubble in SaddleBrooke. By volunteering with SBCO you can get to know more about our nearby communities and the people who live there. I also have had the privilege of working with a lot of talented, experienced volunteers who put helping others above their own self-interests,” she said.

SBCO is always looking for volunteers for both long- and short-term commitments. You can help with a wide range of tasks—from staffing the office to helping with fundraising events, tutoring, helping children choose new clothing, or serving on our Board of Directors. The opportunities are endless. To become involved, visit our website at to see a list of volunteer opportunities and to complete an interest form. We’d love to have you join our team!

Tommy Thompson, an SBCO scholarship recipient, plans to attend medical school after completing her undergraduate studies.

Tommy Thompson, an SBCO scholarship recipient, plans to attend medical school after completing her undergraduate studies.

Scholarship Program Is Making a Difference

Ron Andrea

The SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Scholarship Program identifies exceptional young men and women who are passionate about pursuing college, community college, or trade school, but need financial help. One such student is Tommy Thompson.

Tommy graduated fourth in her class at Ray High School with a 3.9 grade point average. In addition to her high school studies, she worked in a local business, took the Certified Nursing Assistant program at Central Arizona Community College and was a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. She also served as a bible school leader, participated in the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists and was captain of the varsity volleyball team.

“Throughout high school, I knew I wanted to attend a four-year university and then go on to medical school, which I knew would lead to a massive amount of debt. Without the help of my family, I was concerned about how I would pay for all of this. Receiving the SBCO scholarship allowed me to focus more of my time on school since I don’t need to work as much to pay for my tuition and expenses. By taking out fewer loans now, I will be better able to play for medical school after I graduate,” Tommy said.

SBCO targets its student assistance programs in the Copper Corridor (communities from north to Miami and San Carlos). Twenty percent of residents in these communities have an annual household income below the federal poverty level. Research tells us that 72% of children raised in poverty will raise their own children in poverty. Education helps break the vicious cycle of generational poverty by giving students an opportunity for a better life. A scholarship doesn’t just make a difference for that student, but also for his or her children and grandchildren for generations to come.

In 2019, SBCO created the Scholarship Endowment Program to help expand the number of students awarded SBCO scholarships. Donations to the Endowment Fund are preserved forever since only the earnings on donations are expended for scholarships. Donations thus grow in perpetuity, continuing to help deserving students long after the donor is gone.

Donations can be made by making the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund a beneficiary in your trust or estate plan. Those over age 72 can reduce their tax liability on mandated IRA distributions by having a portion of their distribution sent directly to the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund. Finally, people of any age can simply write a tax-deductible check. While SBCO accepts donations of any amount, the minimum donation to the Scholarship Endowment Fund is $5000. (Always consult with your tax advisor regarding the benefits of charitable gifts.) Please consider helping students like Tommy and others by making a donation to the endowment.

For more information about the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund, go to our website at or contact Ron Andrea at [email protected] or at 520-904-4831.

Remember, a gift of education is a gift that lasts forever.

23rd SBCO Annual Food Drive to Assist Families in Nearby Communities

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating economic effect across the country. A recent national survey found that one in seven adults reported their families didn’t have enough to eat. Food insecurity and hunger are very real for 1,518 people, including 426 children and 305 seniors living in Mammoth, San Manuel, and Oracle. Many in these communities are very poor, with 20% of households living below the poverty level and 10% of households living below 50% of the poverty level. One father recently visited Tri-Community Food Bank, explaining he never before had to ask for help to feed his family. He gratefully accepted the addition of fresh milk in his food box, tearfully saying, “I have two children at home waiting for something to eat.”

Between Feb. 20 and March 20, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) will gather donations to support the Tri-Community Food Bank (TCFB) based in Mammoth. TCFB gives 515 households emergency food. Each emergency food box provides nine family meals. Since hunger has worsened during the pandemic, TCFB is now stretching to provide 60 families with a second monthly emergency food box.

SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch residents collaborate on the annual SBCO Food Drive to meet a local need. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2021 Food Drive will again be limited to monetary contributions made online or with checks. We hope in 2022 to be able to experience the friendship and community spirit associated with donations of food in addition to money.

To make a monetary donation, you can write a check or make a donation online using a credit card. Make your check payable to “SBCO Food Drive,” write your unit number on the memo line and deliver it to your unit’s Food Drive captain or mail your check to SBCO, 63675 E. SaddleBrooke Blvd., SaddleBrooke, AZ 85739. Donations can be made online at You don’t need a PayPal account to make an online donation.

All monetary contributions go directly to grocery purchases and related expenses. SBCO and TCFB are all-volunteer organizations and are IRS 501(c)(3) and AZ non-profit charitable organizations, so donations made to these organizations are tax deductible. Please give generously so no child goes to bed hungry.

If you have questions about this event, contact (for SaddleBrooke) Andrea Stephens at [email protected] or by phone at 616-901-6893 or Lori Ward at [email protected] or by phone at 603-320-2527. For SaddleBrooke Ranch, contact Bob Wample at [email protected] or by phone at 559-696-3769.

Shred That Old Paperwork!

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

Weighed down by outdated paper files? Lighten your load by bringing them to the Shredding and Recycling Event on Saturday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to noon (or until the truck is full). The event, hosted by Long Realty-Golder Ranch, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach, and the Beacon Foundation, will be held on the SaddleBrooke One bocce ball courts.

All documents are put into containers at the drop-off site to protect your privacy. The containers are locked and transported to the Beacon facility for shredding. In addition to documents, only computer hard drives, which may still be inside computers or laptops, will be accepted for donation/recycling.

To ensure proper social distancing during the pandemic, please load items to be shredded or recycled into your car trunk or the back of your SUV. Be sure to wear a mask while in the drop-off area and stay in your vehicle. For each bag or box of items delivered for shredding or recycling, please bring $5 or five cans of food. All donations of cash or food will benefit the Tri-Community Food Bank and the Beacon Group.

For more information, please contact Long Realty at 15250 N. Oracle Road, #110 or at 520-665-4200.