GCU to become supply distribution hub for families in need

Grand Canyon University is giving back by working with the expanding CityServe program, which is getting bigger and better so more families statewide can get the help they need.

On Easter weekend, the university hosted an impromptu Farmers to Families Food Box program after the CityServe Network had thousands of extra boxes available.

"There's 30 to 40 pounds in each box, its filled with produce…there's protein items and there's dairy," said a spokesperson for GCU. 

GCU and CityServe have hosted eight events since December of last year, supplying more than 9200 boxes for families in need.

 "I get excited about a lot of things that happen at GCU, but I have to be honest, I don't know if I have ever been more excited about anything than I am this day and what the potential of this partnership is," said Brian Mueller, president of Grand Canyon University.

This week, the university and CityServe announced the creation of a major distribution hub on the GCU campus. The goal is to provide thousands of household goods to needy families in Arizona.

The 35,000-square-foot warehouse on campus will house products such as clothing, blankets, furniture, food boxes and other essential items.

"Together with this partnership, we're just getting started," said Dave Donaldson, co-founder and chairman of CityServe.

The GCU hub, which will be operated mostly by volunteers, will provide the items to PODs, or points of distribution. This includes churches, schools and social service organizations that will in turn give the supplies to families who need the most help. 41 PODs have been established so far, but the goal is 100.

"We want you to serve the entire state of Arizona, north to the Indian reservation, south to the border, west to Yuma, that border -- there's a lot of need and we're going to be able to interact with families," said Mueller. "They need car seats…they need a crib, they need a table, chairs to eat dinner at."

A second phase of the initiative is also in the works as families in need are identified, as Grand Canyon University will seek to provide them long-term assistance through its nine colleges in areas such as job readiness, tutoring, fiscal literacy, addiction counseling, business development, health clinics and more.

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