THS Chapter in Phoenix, AZ
Noah Phillips and Ansley Burns are the two co-founders of the THS chapter in Phoenix, AZ. Burns heard a segment about THS on KJZZ, a local radio station, and went on to the website to learn more. Philipps came across the THS website in early June.
“I wanted to get involved and do something that would help the community now, I did not want seniors or anyone with health risks to be afraid to go to the store,” Burns said. Similarly, Phillips also felt inspired to get involved right away as COVID cases were spiking. “I did not want the virus to interfere with a senior’s next meal,” Phillips explained. “I also found myself with more free time to get involved because COVID-19 cancelled many of my previous activities.”
Phillips and Burns have taken a creative approach to broadening the scope of their services in AZ. Originally beginning the chapter in Phoenix, they intended to make personalized grocery deliveries to seniors in need. “While we did get to complete some individual deliveries, we noticed that after a few weeks of running the organization, the amount of people we were helping was quite low,” Burns and Phillips said. Thinking strategically, they sought to change this as they were “disappointed that there were probably plenty of seniors in the community still in need of service.” So, Burns and Phillips called a retirement and assisted living community, the Beatitudes Campus, located nearby to inquire if any of their residents were in need of grocery assistance.
Phillips and Burns learned that at the Beatitudes, residents live in their own apartments, but they get assistance with meals and medications from the staff. “It turned out that the Beatitudes was already running a grocery delivery service, but they were in desperate need of volunteers to help with the shopping part. If we were able to help shop, then the Beatitudes staff could have more time to do other services for the elderly residents,” the duo added. “We knew we needed to step in right away.”
Volunteers for the Phoenix, AZ chapter are helping shop for an average of 60 seniors per week through the Beatitudes partnership. The pre-existing program consisted of two volunteer coordinators at the Beatitudes shopping for 40-60 seniors each day Monday through Wednesday, which took them around five hours daily to complete the grocery requests. “Each week, the Phoenix chapter sends two to five volunteers Mondays through Wednesdays to the grocery store near the Beatitudes,” Phillips and Burns noted. “We receive grocery lists by seniors from the lead Beatitudes volunteer coordinator, Didi Cruz, and each volunteer shops for around six to eight seniors when they go.”
Phillips and Burns have found starting a new chapter and leading this creative partnership both overwhelming and rewarding. When they began, they weren’t sure where to start or how to get the word out. “Thankfully with the help of the THS co-founders, we were able to get our service public to the community through social media, handing out flyers, and contacting seniors we knew were in need of help,” they chronicled. Through the partnership with the Beatitudes, the Phoenix chapter is writing letters of gratitude and hope to the residents in the community. “This idea came from something [we] read about the elderly feeling very isolated during this time and many [residents] cannot have visitors due to safety concerns,” the duo said. Volunteers have collectively written 60 cards for the seniors so far and plan to continue this work as well.
“Starting a THS chapter has been a great opportunity to develop leadership and teamwork skills and to provide a service for the community,” Phillips and Burns exclaimed. “Volunteering goes by very quickly — there is something about working [together] with a common goal of helping these seniors that makes it more enjoyable and rewarding.”