Help Stop Hunger with 24th SBCO Annual Food Drive
Between Feb. 19 and March 19, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) will hold its annual food drive to benefit the Tri-Community Food Bank (TCFB) based in Mammoth. TCFB serves needy families living in Mammoth, San Manuel, Oracle, and the Dudleyville/Aravaipa area. Many in these communities are very poor, and the nearest grocery store is 28 miles away. Our community’s donations helped to provide bi-monthly emergency food boxes to 468 households (1,120 people)—387 children and 298 seniors—for the past calendar year. Each emergency food box provides nine family meals, and TCFB spends $10,000 per month on food purchases. All monetary contributions go directly to grocery purchases and related expenses. SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch residents collaborate on the annual SBCO Food Drive.
Last year, our residents were so generous that TCFB was able to upgrade its protein storage capacity with the installation of a new $70,000 walk-in freezer. After losing the use of warehouse space for non-perishable food storage, TCFB plans to build a new $80,000 storage facility on site. It will be a big improvement over the previous storage space and facilitate the movement of stored items from the warehouse to the food bank building.
Due to the continued uncertainty surrounding COVID, the 2022 food drive will be limited to monetary contributions made online or by check. Perhaps in 2023, we will be able to return to donations of food in addition to money.
You can make a donation online using a credit card or write a check. Make your check payable to SBCO Food Drive and write your unit number on the memo line. You can either mail or deliver it to SBCO at 63675 E. SaddleBrooke Blvd., Suite L, Tucson, AZ 85739. Online donations can be made at community-outreach.org using a credit card. You don’t need a PayPal account to make an online donation.
All monetary contributions go directly to grocery purchases and related expenses. SBCO and TCFB are all-volunteer organizations and are IRS 501(c)(3) and Arizona non-profit charitable organizations, so donations made to these organizations are tax deductible. Please give generously, so no one goes to bed hungry.
If you would like to volunteer for the food drive, or have questions about this event, contact Andrea Stephens in SaddleBrooke at [email protected] or 616-901-6893, or Betty Ryan in SaddleBrooke Ranch at [email protected] or 425-260-4418.
SaddleBrooke Ranchers Host Casino Night to Benefit SBCO
Jacqueline and Patrick Fancher rolled the dice and hosted a casino night for their SaddleBrooke Ranch neighbors. The goal was to raise money for SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) while having a lot of fun with their friends. To no one’s surprise, the event succeeded on both counts.
Jacqueline noted, “We moved to SaddleBrooke Ranch in October 2020 from Hollister, Calif., although this was our vacation home for four years prior to that. Patrick worked in diversified farming, and I had a bookkeeping and payroll business. In California we had been to this type of fundraiser, and we wanted to do more than host the usual dinner or appetizers and drinks event.”
Jacqueline said she was inspired to host a fundraiser after attending an SBCO information meeting held at the Ranch. “I need to do more than play pickleball, as enjoyable as that is. I think it is important to help the whole community. Kids in particular are vulnerable to the decisions of adults, landing them in situations not of their choice. The annual Adopt-A-Family program is a favorite of mine. I also volunteer with IMPACT of Southern Arizona. Giving back adds purpose to my life.”
For their casino night, the Fanchers hosted 16 people, hired Phoenix-based Diamond Dave’s Casino Events, and served barbecued meat and non-alcoholic drinks. Guests provided side dishes and brought their own alcoholic drinks. Each guest contributed $20 for $100 in gambling chips, of which 100% was donated to SBCO. Even the non-gamblers donated to SBCO.
Patrick and Jacqueline want to thank all of their new SaddleBrooke Ranch friends who were able to attend for their part in making this fundraiser a success. Both Jacqueline and Patrick said, “We had a good time hosting this fundraiser. Maybe we’ll do it again next year with a few more people.”
SBCO Celebrates 25 Years of Making a Difference
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. Such was the case with SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO). What took root from a living room conversation in 1996 among six women who wanted to give back to the local community has grown into an award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a wide array of programs supported by hundreds of volunteers and many more donors.
Dorothy Steffano, Harriett Schultz, Roberta Spector, Cyrene Schochet, Marcia Weitzman, and Anita Eagle, SBCO’s “founding mothers,” were united by a desire to help others in some tangible way. The group quickly grew in size as word spread. A research committee set out to determine the needs of Tucson and southeastern Pinal County, discovering that the response was “everything.” Local needs ran the gamut from education, counseling, and parenting to food, homelessness, domestic abuse, and clothing.
Eventually, a clear-cut need was found when Laurie Steffano, a teacher in San Manuel, explained the impact students’ lack of clothing was having on school attendance. Children were coming to school with tattered, ill-fitting clothing and shoes that were either too large, too small, or held together with duct tape and rubber bands. Mammoth Elementary Principal Diane Lemley told of families with so few items of clothing that their children had to alternate who went to school on any given day.
The women, who initially called themselves the SaddleBrooke Women’s Organization (SWO), found their focus: providing children in the Tri-Communities (Oracle, San Manuel, and Mammoth) with appropriate clothing to help boost their self-esteem and improve their school attendance. A modest clothing bank, initially offering clothing purchased at local thrift stores, was born. With financial support from SaddleBrooke residents, by mid-1997, the group had enough money to distribute new clothing. Today’s Kids’ Closet annually provides about 3,200 wardrobes (new shoes, clothing, and underwear) and hygiene products to children from pre-school through eighth grade along the 100-mile Copper Corridor from Catalina to San Carlos.
With the added involvement of men, SWO quickly became SaddleBrooke Community Outreach. In addition to the clothing bank, SBCO also responded to emergency calls for food, clothing, medication, and hygiene products. The Adopt-A-Family Program began in 1997, and fundraisers were initiated: recycling aluminum cans, a dinner theater, a fashion show, participation in SaddleBrooke’s annual rummage sale, and SBCO’s first annual Walkathon.
In 1998, SBCO hosted its first annual food drive, a project that has continued every year since. Pre-COVID, the food drive collected monetary donations, in addition to canned and packaged goods, that well-organized, energetic volunteers sorted, boxed, and delivered to the Tri-Community Food Bank. Although only monetary donations have been permitted in 2021 and 2022, the plan is to accept food and money in 2023.
The success of today’s SBCO and its ability to offer a wide range of programs that provide food, clothing, and educational opportunities for local children is due to its founding mothers, the many residents who have provided the labor and money to support its programs, and those who donate and shop at the Golden Goose Thrift Store. The Goose splits its proceeds between SBCO and IMPACT of Southern Arizona and has enabled SBCO to provide holiday meals to Oracle residents, fund educational enrichment programs, and give college scholarships to local students.
Through 25 years of making a difference in local communities, SBCO’s focus has never changed: providing local children with the basic necessities and opportunities they need to succeed. “It’s All About the Kids.”
Note: 10 years ago, Rick Cato documented the history of SBCO based on personal interviews. The complete eight-part series is provided at https://community-outreach.org/about-sbco/history-of-sbco.
Volunteers the Key to Annual Food Drive’s Success
Casey and Stan Domalewski moved from Jersey City, N.J., to SaddleBrooke at an auspicious time—10 days before 9/11. They were seeking a warmer climate, free from snow shoveling and icy roads. You might think that after long careers helping others—Casey as a nurse for 26 years and Stan as a fireman for 28 years—they’d be ready to put their feet up and relax, but you’d be wrong. The Domalewskis chose SaddleBrooke after looking at several communities. What sealed the deal was four pages listing volunteer opportunities in the community. “We knew this was a special place,” Casey said.
Casey recalls, “A neighbor, literally, while I was unloading moving boxes from the car, came over and said that volunteers were needed to help make boxes for the food drive.” That was the beginning of the couple’s 20-year commitment to SBCO’s annual food drive. Stan said, “That first year, when we arrived at the parking lot, I was flabbergasted by the community spirit. There were lots of volunteers—I only expected a few to show up—food was being unloaded from cars, and everything was well organized.”
Over the years, Casey has made boxes, assembled boxes, and for the past 10 years, served as unit captain. She says, “Stan and I do the job together. We walk around the neighborhood distributing flyers, which is good exercise. It’s great to have a positive, altruistic project that we can do as a team. We enjoy the whole experience, and it gives us a great sense of purpose.”
Both Casey and Stan said, “This program runs like a Swiss watch. Volunteers feel appreciated, because they are put to work with no time wasted. It gives us a sense of community, helps people locally, has immediate impact, and meets a basic need. What could be more basic than ensuring people have nutritional food?”