Organization in Apache Junction helping families in need as new school year begins

An organization in the East Valley is helping parents and educators start off the school year right.

Project Help is a community-based program in Apache Junction, helping students and families in need. They are offering everything from financial aid, to food and school supplies.

"Whatever they need, we provide, and if we don’t have it, I go buy it," said Rosie Portugal-Brastad, a coordinator at Project Help. "Whatever it takes to keep our kids in school because they need to be successful. They are going to be our future leaders."

Portugal-Brastad has been a coordinator at the project for five years, but has been helping families there for over a decade. Donations come from people all over the Valley, and the aid that is given out has to be repaid through community service.

"They can come shopping once a month. It’s two hours of community service, so it’s not a lot of community service. It’s just two hours that they can do at their child’s school, at the food bank, wherever they would like to do their community service," said Portugal-Brastad.

One person who has benefited from the program is Sally Chavez. Chavez is a single mom of three who has gone through some challenging times. She was able to get through because of the program.

“from shoes to clothes, to clothes to gift cards," said Chavez. "I couldn’t do it without help. I know it’s my responsibility, I understand that, but it’s hard, especially when there is nobody else but me."

This is part of the reason why Portugal-Brastad has dedicated countless hours to helping those who need it in her community. She knows what it’s like to go through some tough times herself.  
"I was raised by a single mother with four children in Texas, so I know what it’s like," said Portugal-Brastad, barely able to hold back tears.