Holiday Volunteering

by Tom Simplot

Dec 18, 2016

When you see donation boxes in apartment communities across the Valley at communities like MEB, ConAm, and Dunlap & Magee, some people wonder where all those goods go. This weekend, AMA members will celebrate Christmas early with an annual dinner for more than 600 Valley residents in need.


Shirley Arthur, a lifetime member of the AMA and recipient of St. Vincent De Paul’s Lifetime Achievement Award, has spent the past few months planning this annual Christmas dinner. For years, Shirley has organized volunteers, mostly from the multifamily industry, to host a traditional feast at the Chris Becker Memorial Dining Room in Sunnyslope.


Joining Shirley are numerous local companies, government agencies, neighbors and friends. They help to raise funds and solicit goods and even stuff stockings and wrap presents. This year the generous people at Aventura, the catering company that serves the Phoenix Convention Center, stepped in to cook all of the turkeys. Companies like Kowalski Construction have committed to supporting the set up and cleanup. Apartment communities have been collecting goods for these families from their staff members and residents.


On Sunday, volunteers will set tables with clothing, toys, and specially made stockings. Parents have time to select items they need so they can plan for a holiday. The stockings, some made possible by members of St. Luke’s Catholic Church, include goodies for children. The Desert Horizon Phoenix police precinct contributes bags of toys.


Sharing this dinner with so many colleagues, community partners, and families in need puts this holiday season into perspective. A cadre of volunteers, led by the extraordinary Shirley Arthur, have provided hope and kindness for thousands of families over the years. The generosity of local businesses, police officers and residents living in apartment communities has created personal connections that make our neighborhoods stronger.