Nonprofits in the Spotlight:

Pinal County and its people experience difficult times, whether they’re tied to wider economic issues or intensely personal ones.

When they do, they have always turned to local charities, civic organizations, church groups, emergency shelters, soup kitchens, school or senior citizen support groups, animal rescue groups and other nonprofit groups supported by philanthropists of every order of magnitude.

Communities coalesce around these organizations to support those in need, especially as the holiday season approaches and awareness of how people are suffering increases. Donations are needed throughout the year but nonprofits are always grateful for the relative windfalls of November and December.

So this month we are turning our Business Spotlight over to Pinal County’s nonprofit community, highlighting four in particular:

  • Against Abuse
  • H.O.H.P.
  • Maricopa Pantry
  • Pinal Animal Control 

You will learn more about these nonprofits and how you can contribute to their missions. But we urge everyone to consider donating to any of our area’s legitimate charities. Doing so changes lives — maybe even your own.


Against Abuse Inc.

by John Stapleton, Contributing Editor

Founded in 1981 here in Pinal County, Against Abuse Inc. has been providing services for individuals and families experiencing domestic violence. They have also been proactive in awareness campaigns, educating communities on the effects it has on victims, and the resources that are needed for assistance.

The range of services and resources at Against Abuse Inc. are extensive. Services for dating violence and victims of sexual assault are also covered. Another major focus for their awareness campaigns is sex trafficking and counseling resources for both men and women. Even pet care assistance is now included in the event someone is in a situation where they have to leave the home for safety.

The pandemic and shutdowns created hardships on both families who were experiencing domestic violence and for Against Abuse Inc. as they struggled to provide in-person help with the new safety and health guidelines. They also incurred additional expenses as they provided hotel rooms to keep families physically safe from abuse and potential COVID exposure at the shelters that house multiple families. The increased operations cost for cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment is also an issue.

The nonprofit relies heavily on volunteers and advocates. COVID has also impacted Against Abuse Inc. with volunteer opportunities. The organization is hoping for more individuals who can help while following guidelines.

Its most notable fundraising events have been “A Taste of the Taste Around Town” and the “Seeds of Change Gala.” The COVID pandemic forced both events to be postponed until 2022. In the meantime, individuals and businesses can still contribute both monetary and “Wish List” items. On the Against Abuse Inc. website, follow the tab for “Wish List.” Many general needs items, hygiene, medical, baby and child care products, and of course, seasonal products for the holidays are listed.

Admin Address:
119 N. Florence Street, Casa Grande
Phone: (520) 836-7757
Website: against-abuse.org
24-Hour Crisis Line: (520) 836-0858


Maricopa Pantry

by John Stapleton, Contributing Editor

On any Saturday morning you can see a line of cars stretched down Papago Road on the outskirts of Maricopa. The event is the food basket distribution provided by the Maricopa Pantry. Close to 1,000 families a week come by and for some, it is the only way they will eat for the week.

Founded by Jim and Alice Shoaf, the Pantry operates strictly through volunteers. Their operating costs, which are primarily fuel, utilities, and equipment, are funded through small donations by both individuals coming in to get a basket and local businesses who see the impact of the Pantry.

“We don’t know how we are going to be from one week to the next with both funding and available food,” said Jim Shoaf, “We put that in God’s hands and so far it has worked.”

While the food distribution is the major component of the nonprofit, Shoaf and his all-star team of volunteers get involved in both local and national emergencies. During the COVID shutdown, the Pantry teamed up with other local organizations to provide assistance to seniors and families. They are involved with veterans groups, helping to make sure the disabled vets are receiving food. At Thanksgiving, the Pantry hosts a “Community Melting Pot Luck,” inviting anyone who needs a meal and anyone who wants to bring a meal, preferably one that reflects their heritage and for others to enjoy.

At Christmas time, Shoaf dons a Santa hat and jacket, making appearances and letting kids get a tug at the beard. He even does a special-needs sensory Santa, where kids can talk to Santa in a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. The Pantry does accept wrapped toy donations or gently used toys they will distribute during the holiday season.

Food Distribution:
50881 W. Papago Road, Maricopa
Phone: (520) 709-3076
Email: jim@maricopapantry.org
Donations: paypal.me/maricopapantry


HOHP

by John Stapleton, Contributing Editor

HOHP, Honoring/Hiring/Helping Our Heroes of Pinal County, is central command for helping veterans across the region. The Headquarters is actually nicknamed Eagle’s Landing and can be found in downtown Casa Grande.

In 2011, the organization started as a small group of veterans, family members of veterans, and military supporters who saw an opportunity to network and pool their resources together to help the needs specific to veterans in Pinal County. With the support of the Pinal County Supervisors and the Gila River Indian Community, mobile veteran services and outreach began with Eagle One, a converted RV that rolled around Pinal County to help veterans with medical and dental check-ups, or even with their benefits paperwork and records.

In 2017, Eagle’s Landing opened its doors. Since then, their growing resources have been available to veterans whether they needed clothes for a job interview or just camaraderie with the many support groups the facility hosts, including Veterans Coffee Club every Tuesday at 8:00 AM.

November is a busy month for HOHP with various Veterans Day activities:

Nov. 6 – Casa Grande Veterans Day Parade – 10:00 AM (to volunteer check in at the HOHP Eagles Landing Veterans Center).

Nov. 11– HOHP will be at Encanterra in Queen Creek for a veterans event in the morning and in the evening the Coolidge/Florence Elks Lodge dinner for veterans with HOHP as color guard.

Nov. 13 – 9th Annual Pinal County Veterans Stand Down – 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM, registration for providers and volunteers are available on Eventbrite.

Address:
Eagles Landing Veterans Center,
318 N. Florence St., Casa Grande
Phone: (520) 338-2568
Website: Hohp4heroes.org


Pinal County Animal Control

by John Stapleton, Contributing Editor

The Pinal County Animal Control facility is practically always full. It is also always in need of volunteers to help walk the dogs and give them a little bit of exercise and happiness outside of their kennel. Of course, the best way to help is with a long-term commitment of adopting a pet.

“We have had wonderful responses and updates from adopters about their new family member,” said Audra Michael, shelter director. “It is very heartwarming.”

In 2020 during the shutdown, the PCAC saw an increase in adoptions. However, in 2021 with the world trying to return to normal, many pets were brought in, as owners could no longer care for them due to employment, moved, or realized it takes a lot of time to care for a pet.

“We are consistently full and have a waiting list for people wanting to surrender their pets,” said Michael. “It is a real problem throughout the entire country, and unfortunately we have no solution at this time.”

If people are looking to help the shelter operations, Michael says there are a variety of ways.

“People can always donate money to our facility or go to our website and buy items listed on our Amazon Wish List,” said Michael. “We always need volunteers to walk dogs since we are so full, it is harder to make sure they all get out of their kennels for enrichment time. We also have a nonprofit called ‘Friends of Pinal Shelter and Rescue.’ They help us by paying medical expenses for animals in our care that we as a facility cannot afford to pay for.”

Michael advises against pets for gifts for the holidays as a spontaneous decision, and to make sure any adoption comes with a long-haul commitment. If someone is interested, every Friday is $5 adoptions for any animal over eight months of age.

Lastly, Michael says to visit the shelter’s website if someone is looking to rehome their pet without having to come into the already crowded shelter. They can also alter a dog or cat that is not currently altered for the person that takes in the animal.

Address:
1150 11 Mile Corner,
Casa Grande, AZ 85194
Phone: (520) 509-3555
Website: pinalcountyaz.gov