Hardworking Volunteers Bring Thanksgiving Baskets to Local Families
The Thanksgiving holiday was brighter for many families in the Oracle and San Manuel area due to the efforts of SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO). Just before Thanksgiving, SBCO volunteers, chaired by Mona Sullivan and Mark Liefke, assembled and delivered 62 holiday baskets to area residents in need.
Each basket was filled with traditional Thanksgiving items, including a large turkey and all the trimmings. Special baskets were also created for those with larger families. The baskets are actually laundry baskets—making it easy to transport the food and provide the recipients with a useful household item.
As with any successful volunteer effort, many people put their hands to the wheel. Sullivan and Liefke worked with Walmart at the Oro Valley Marketplace to purchase needed items. Camile Esterman, SBCO treasurer, then went to Walmart to pay for the goods. Patricia Tewksbury and Steve Groth arranged for the vans to transport the baskets, which were then driven by Ted Pierce and Groth. In addition to the previously named, Greg Jolly, Ann Coziahr, Bud Fairbanks, Helen Rowe, and Carolyn Meador helped to assemble, load, unload, and deliver the baskets.
The Thanksgiving Food Basket program has been in existence for many years and is one of the many ways SBCO helps to combat the food deficiencies of our neighbors.
Kim Schweitzer and Betty Ryan
For the last 12 years, SaddleBrooke Ranch has participated in the Adopt-A-Family project.
In the past, ranch residents would choose an “Angel” tag from our tree, which contained the name, age, size, and wish list of holiday items for a child or adult. The names are provided by our local school in Oracle, Mountain Vista.
For the safety of all of us, we were unable to set up a tree, or ask people to shop, however the needs and wishes of our neighbors to the north have not changed. In fact, in some cases the needs are greater.
As the ranch population has grown, donations have increased, and we have been able to provide for more children. Lydia Smith, the school nurse (who is our contact at the school) has told me, “Words cannot express the gratitude and relief on the faces of the parents when they are presented with the cards.”
Our residents once again have been incredibly generous. We received $20,413 in donations, which enabled us to purchase 154 $100 Walmart gift cards for the children and 57 $75 Bashas’ cards for the families. We also purchased $738 worth of toys for the Tri Community Food Bank of Mammoth.
The Adopt-A-Family initiative is sponsored by SaddleBrooke Community Outreach. Their mission is: “to provide opportunities for kids to succeed.” Thank you to everyone for doing just that.
24th Annual Food Drive March 19
On Saturday, March 19, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) will again gather donations to support the Tri-Community Food Bank (TCFB) based in Mammoth. TCFB serves needy families living in Mammoth, San Manuel, Oracle, and the Dudleyville/Aravaipa area. Our community’s donations helped to provide bi-monthly emergency food boxes to 468 households (1,120 people) for the past calendar year. The Food Bank served 387 children and 298 seniors. The Food Bank serves about 295 households with 885 individuals on a monthly basis. 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 Arizona nonprofit charitable organizations, so donations made to these organizations are tax deductible.
TCFB meets a real need in the Tri-Community area, where 20% of households live below the poverty level and 10% are below 50% of the poverty level. It’s hard to provide food for your family, keep a roof over your head, and buy gas to drive to your job if you don’t earn enough to cover these daily living expenses.
This year, as in 2021, the food drive committee decided that for the health and safety of everyone, only monetary donations made online or with checks can be accepted. We hope in 2023 to be able to again experience the friendship and community spirit associated with donations of food.
Scholarship Recipient Stresses the Benefits to Him and Others
Makaiah Gorham, a student at Brigham Young University–Hawaii, is the consummate volunteer and is seeking a future where he can provide service and help to those in need. His goal is to ultimately help families in dire situations to build better futures for themselves.
Following graduation from San Manuel High School in 2017, Makaiah volunteered in the Philippines, helping residents focus more on family, community, and faith. These endeavors included tasks ranging from pulling weeds and cleaning gutters to typhoon preparation and clean-up. Following his two-year stint in the Philippines, he attended Pima Community College, where he finished with a 4.0 GPA. During this time, he continued to volunteer and work full-time. In 2020 he moved to Hawaii and is majoring in business marketing and minoring in psychology and Mandarin.
Makaiah commits to using his scholarship wisely, and assures that the investment will benefit others in the years to come. He expresses dismay that often donations to charities do not actually go to aid the needy or that charitable funds are spent frivolously. He states, “I can assure you that the money donated to me will only go towards helping pay for an amazing education.”
His dream is to form one or more nonprofits that would, among other things, assist people in countries where the labor supply is great to acquire jobs in countries where the labor supply is low.
If you would like to help students like Makaiah, please consider making a gift to the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach Scholarship Endowment Program. All contributions to the endowment fund must be made payable to the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona (CFSA) and designated for the “SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund.” CFSA’s Tax ID is 94-2681765. The minimum contribution to the fund is $5,000.
Tax-deductible donations can be made any of four ways:
* A personal check—sent directly to CFSA—made payable to Community Foundation of Southern Arizona with “SBCO Endowment” in the memo line.
* A distribution from your IRA to CFSA—for the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund.
* Include CFSA as the manager of the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund as a beneficiary in your trust or estate plan.
* In-kind contributions (e.g., stock, securities, real estate, autos).
Send donations to: The Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund, 5049 E. Broadway Blvd., Suite 201, Tucson, AZ 85711.
For more information, send an email to [email protected] or call the SBCO office at 520-825-3302.
Save on Golf Balls and Support SBCO
Since 2000, golfers’ wallets have benefited from a program that collects used golf balls on the SaddleBrooke courses and sells them to local golfers. All proceeds go to support SaddleBrooke Community Outreach’s programs that provide food, clothing, and educational opportunities to local kids. Since 2008, Tom Young has been assisting with (and now managing) this program. All golf balls are $5 per dozen. If you would like to buy some golf balls at a bargain price, contact Tom at [email protected] to find out what is available or to place an order.
Feline Authors Donate 100 Adventure Books to Kids’ Closet
Feline SaddleBrooke authors, Carly and Charly, want to share the joy of reading with kids from local communities. A copy of the first of their seven books, How It All Began, was given to local kids along with their SBCO Kids’ Closet fall wardrobes.
As each of the Adventures of Carly and Charly book series hits the shelves, Carly and Charly have agreed to donate a case of books highlighting their excellent cat adventures, including boating, tennis, pickleball, baking, horseback riding, and skateboarding. And because there’s no holding these cats back, there are even more adventures on the way!
Kids’ Closet has been furnishing kids in need with wardrobes and books for 24 years. The fall and spring wardrobes and books make a huge difference in the lives of these kids. A good start is key to a happy and productive life.
The generosity of SaddleBrooke residents is much appreciated and cannot be overstated. As of November, SBCO provided wardrobes for 1,163 students in preschool through eighth grade during the fall Kids’ Closet fall season. SBCO is glad to welcome Carly and Charly as supporters of its mission, “It’s All About the Kids.”