Foster care organization to move into larger space, hold more donations

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

The non-profit Arizona Helping Hands has been giving beds and other necessities to foster families for years. Last year, they gave away a record 2,908 beds and the organization continues to grow. Now they are starting a new chapter in a bigger, more centrally located space.

Melissa Tracy and her family have fostered 19 children over the past four years.

"Having the opportunity to love kids and be there for kids in their hardest days and moments is an honor," Tracy said. But she admits, becoming a foster parent can be daunting.

"You need beds, you need sippy cups, you need diapers, you need wipes," Tracy said. She turned to Arizona Helping Hands to get those necessities for free.

"Something like Arizona Helping Hands, it's a way everyone can get involved," Tracy said.

[RELATED: Foster group aims to ease burden on families]

"Sometimes it can be a daunting task to realize all the things you need to buy to bring in a little kiddo, so to get beds and stuff like, that is a great resource," said foster dad Steve Vogel. 

Now, Arizona Helping Hands is expanding and moving from Scottsdale to north Phoenix, off Thunderbird Road near the State Route 51. 

[RELATED: 'Arizona Helping Hands' toy drive helps foster kids, families in need]

"We can put our racking up higher, we can store more goods, make better use of the floor space," said CEO and President Dan Shufelt. The old Scottsdale location is only 8,000 square feet; the new location more than doubles that --18,000 square feet. Shufelt said they no longer have to turn away big donations because they have no room to store them.

Arizona Department of Child Safety caseworkers took in 4,400 abuse and neglect reports in April -- the highest month so far in 2018. Also, as of April, 14,927 kids and adults under the age of 21 are either in foster or group homes.

"The core issues are still there, the problems with drug and abuse and child abuse and other things that happen in our community," Shufelt said.
He added they do hope to have more partners for this project but they expect to open in September.

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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