GRIC youth get a helping hand

Christopher Lomahquahu

Gila River Indian News


Essential supplies can be difficult to come by for children and families running on limited funds or in foster care, but thanks to a local organization, they can get the things they need. Arizona Helping Hands and the Gila River Indian Community teamed up to provide donations to 500 children in care of the Community on Sept. 6. 


“We want to give great thanks, these items will be donated to the residential program for youth,” said Sunshine Whitehair, acting Director for Tribal Social Services. She said the donated items will not only go to the youth home within the Community, but will also go to the family advocacy center where families go in times of crisis. 


“We have partnered extensively with the Gila River Indian Community, there's actually case workers from the Community, that show up on a fairly regular basis to pick-up primary support (supplies) for families,” said Dan Shufelt, President & CEO of AHH. 


AHH provides supplies for children in foster care in the state of Arizona, including tribal centers, donating items such as new cribs or beds, diapers, toiletries, clothing and safety equipment. 


Shufelt said, “We have a mutually supportive relationship with the Community, that we have received funding in the past through the state shared gaming resources.” He said filling a large 18,000-square-foot facility requires a lot help, which is why they are thankful for the support, that comes from the Community and national organizations. 


Shufelt said, “It's cool to connect with tribal communities, such as Gila River, and we understand within these communities the resources aren't available.” He said working with communities all over the state allows, AHH to make resources available to families and children through the donations. 


He said through the donations, “We try to be able to do some little part to make these kids’ lives a little more hopeful, more stable and safer is what we are all about.” With the donations to the Community, AHH will have donated a total of 5,500 backpacks filled with school supplies to children this year.