DES Donation Drives Brighten Holiday Season for Clients

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) team dedicates every day to serving individuals, families and communities across the state. Whether working directly with our clients to help them access critical assistance services, or operating behind the scenes to support our programs, my colleagues are some of the most passionate and committed people with whom I’ve had the privilege to collaborate.

You can imagine how amazed I was to find just how far the DES team will go above and beyond for Arizona families; as our teams have launched several donation and volunteer activities to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve. Through these activities, we are able to play a role in making the holidays warmer and brighter for families and children who may be struggling. Here are just a few of the examples of our team’s generosity:

Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD): For the 33rd year, DDD is hosting the Holiday Gifts from the Heart Program. Through this program, donors and sponsors throughout DES and its partner organizations are able to contribute to DDD members and their families who are in need. Last year, donors and sponsors created a memorable holiday season through gift-giving as the Division connected 301 individuals to 116 sponsors; with a grand total of 1,101 individuals receiving a holiday gift(s) during the holiday season!

Division of Child Care (DCC): Donation efforts are underway to support the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) Welcome Center for children who have experienced significant trauma. The Welcome Center opened in March 2023 to provide DCS staff and service providers access to critical resources all in one place. DCC and its colleagues across the agency are helping to support the Welcome Center by providing critical hygiene and clothing items for the children and teens assisted by the Center.

Office of Community Engagement (OCE) Volunteer Engagement Center: The DES Volunteer Engagement Center is collecting items for children in or entering foster care and has invited agency teams to donate clothing in partnership with The Foster Alliance. Formerly named Arizona Helping Hands, The Foster Alliance is the largest provider of essential needs to 14,000+ children in foster care in Arizona, and relies on the generosity of volunteers and donors to deliver their programs. Our teams are more than happy to help in their efforts this holiday season, and beyond.

Division of Employment and Rehabilitation Services (DERS): As a part of a 26-year tradition, the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker (MSFW) Program within DERS collected new throw blankets to provide to Arizona’s farmworkers to use while they wait for buses to take them to the fields to work. The MSFW helps farmworkers and English Language Learners with career decisions and improved living and working conditions while they play an integral role in our state’s–and nation’s–agricultural production. Many farmworkers start their workdays in the middle of the night between midnight and 4:00 a.m. and often need to wait for up to two hours in frigid temperatures for the buses to arrive to take them to their worksite. These donations help them stay warm and comfortable as they prepare to ensure fresh food is available for Arizona families.

These examples provide only a glimpse of the generosity and enthusiasm with which our teams support Arizona communities. While this is my first holiday season as a member of the team, I know many of these efforts have become traditions–extending years–and in some cases, decades–into DES’s past. I am grateful to be a part of such a spirited and selfless team.

Angie Rodgers