Grand Canyon University’s CityServe, the CityServe state affiliate for Arizona, has provided household goods and necessities to more than 6,500 families since being started one year ago. Over $3 million worth of surplus goods from major retailers such as Costco, Amazon and Walmart have been distributed through GCU’s point-of-distribution partners (PODs).
In September of last year, GCU partnered with CityServe, a collaborative network of faith-based nonprofits, corporate, retail, farm and food supply partners, to become the first university in the country to serve as a HUB for the non-profit. The GCU HUB relies heavily on volunteers, with students, faculty and staff immediately rallying behind the cause. In the first year of operation, over 2,700 volunteer hours went into running the HUB.
“GCU is uniquely positioned to serve as a CityServe HUB because of who we are as a Christian university and because of the insatiable desire of our students, faculty and staff to give back and have a positive impact on the communities around us,” GCU President Brian Mueller said. “The number of families we have been able to help in just the first year has exceeded our initial expectations and we will continue to expand on that as we raise awareness. Items that many of us take for granted such as a bed or sofa or clothing are bringing comfort to families who are facing challenging circumstances.”
GCU CityServe has over 90 PODs across the state, impacting families as far north as Flagstaff, as far west as Yuma, as far south as Tucson and as far east as Globe. Examples of individuals the GCU HUB has been able to help include:
- A formerly homeless Vietnam veteran who received furnishings for his first home
- A single father whose wife died of an illness who received a crib, clothing and other essentials for their baby
- A young man who was walking to work six miles every day who received an eBike
- A foster family of five children that received home furnishings
- An addiction and homelessness rehabilitation facility that received outdoor furniture
- A teachers lounge at an elementary school that received décor and decorative chairs
- Homeless veterans and others who received clothing, shoes and food
- A single mother of four who received furnishings after her apartment was destroyed by a fire
- A family of four that sold many of their belongings in order to afford increases in their rent and received a new bed
- And so much more.
“We strive to be the best stewards of the items that we receive,” said GCU CityServe HUB manager Nathan Cooper. “A huge part of that is being able to distribute very specific items that the families or individuals have requested through our POD partners. These items go beyond just the essentials, we are able to provide items that can turn a house into a home.”
Originally, 35,000 feet of warehouse space was created to house all the goods. Just six months later, the warehouse was expanded to more than 88,000 feet to keep up with the demand of incoming goods.
“In just one-year GCU has become a model for CityServe’s university-based vision to equip and mobilize students to meet community needs and to help families move from dependency to sustainability,” said Dave Donaldson, CityServe co-founder.
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About Grand Canyon University: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is Arizona’s premier private Christian university. GCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers 312 academic programs, emphases and certificates for both traditional undergraduate students and working professionals. The University’s curriculum emphasizes interaction with classmates, both in-person and online, and individual attention from instructors while fusing academic rigor with Christian values to help students find their purpose and become skilled, caring professionals. For more information, visit gcu.edu.
About CityServe: CityServe is a collaborative network of churches and community leaders who help those in need live better lives. CityServe empowers the local church to fulfill its purpose to overcome despair and transform lives by resourcing them with tangible goods and capacity building. CityServe brings the church to the table to address community challenges by offering long-lasting relationships that lead to transformation and has been designated a “Community of Faith and Opportunity” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information about CityServe and its initiatives, please visit https://cityserve.us/ or on social platforms @cityservehq.