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A CRS volunteer year.

    CRS employees participated in numerous events this year inside and out of the office to make for a stellar CRS volunteer year wrap up. Among normal day-to-day operations, we find it rewarding to take the time to volunteer and share our blessings with others. And while we volunteer and donate expecting nothing in return, we wanted to share a recap here on our blog. Do you or does your workplace volunteer or donate throughout the year? According to The Balance, there are 15 benefits of volunteering AND among them are social, emotional, physical and professional perks. And in case you need another reason (for the season), our very own Gabe thoughtfully shared his most recent experience at a volunteer event that turned into something much more meaningful.  

"I had a chance to meet a father and two girls in the park while serving Thanksgiving lunch. As I learned about the father and his journey, I wanted to do something to make life a little easier for them. My family and I did some shopping and made sure their Christmas was a special one. Come to find out, they were in dire need of clothing and our kind act turned out to be a miracle." - Gabe, Support Specialist

  On that note, let's take a look a look back at a 'CRS-blessed' year of moments and memories made by all our amazing employees.  

CRS’ volunteer year wrap up:

 

Run the Runway - Playworks Arizona

In April, we attended the 5th Annual Run the Runway event in Scottsdale, Arizona. The race included 5/10/15K and took place on none other than, you guessed it, the Scottsdale Airport tarmac. The finish line included a post-race festival with sponsors and vendors.  

“It was unique and its the only race held at the Scottsdale Airport, plus its FLAT! Best run ever.” - Kristin, Marketing

  Run the runway is a one-of-a-kind morning run to benefit Playworks Arizona, the only non-profit organization in the country to send trained, full-time coaches to low-income, urban schools, where they transform recess into a positive experience and teach valuable life skills to reduce aggression and bullying on the playground.  
“The most memorable thing for me was watching my 8-year-old son run the entire 5k race and how many people were encouraging him and cheering him on.  My husband said that everyone they passed talked to him and cheered him on and he loved every minute of it. We are definitely going to do the event again next year!” - Corinne, Collections Specialist
  http://runtherunwayaz.com/ http://www.playworks.org/arizona/  

Arizona Humane Society

In May, we gathered up fleece and spent some time at the Arizona Humane Society making blankets for our littlest friends, the kittens. Between staffing, medical care, vaccinations, toys, litter, food, and other supplies, it costs nearly $200,000 a year to operate the Kitten Nursery and Bottle Baby ICU. In past years a few kittens found forever homes among our employees. http://www.azhumane.org/

Andre House

Andre House provides a wide range of services to Phoenix valley people in with immediate needs. Of those, we committed to two opportunities at Andre House this year. We sorted clothing and donations and helped out with dinner service. Dinner service consists of prep, service, and cleanup. Most found this to be an extra rewarding experience. Four times a year, Andre House publishes a newsletter called “The Open Door” with stories written by current and former volunteers and members. Take a look at the awesome work they do -  http://andrehouse.org/the-open-door-newsletter-2/ http://andrehouse.org/  

Sojourner Center

The Sojourner Center is one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the US. The center provides shelter and support services to men, women, and children affected by domestic violence. This year to help meet the basic needs of the families at Sojourner, our group assisted in organizing the donations center just in time for the Holiday season. www.sojournercenter.org

 

Alongside the events, we gathered donations for:

 

Sunset Elementary - Back-to-School Drive

CRS held a Back-to-School supply drive, for a local school where an employee, Corinne’s, children attend. Employees Denise, Corinne and Judy delivered supplies and spent some time getting to know the kind staff at Sunset Elementary. Denise spent the rest of the day smiling ear to ear, so very happy to have spent a few moments with ‘the babies’ at Sunset Elementary.

Operation Hurricane Harvey

CRS employees and friends gathered necessary items immediately following Hurricane Harvey for those affected. Many items that were donated included diapers, toothbrushes, food items, socks and more! We were also able to include a few bags of clothing. Donations were sent to our CRS Catastrophe Team and also loaded onto a truck that drove the items to Texas.  

Toys For Tots

We wrapped up in the season of giving by holding a Toys For Tots drive and included all those in the building to participate. Local campaigns are conducted annually in over 700 communities covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. While Toys for Tots Coordinators organize, coordinate and manage the campaign, the ultimate success depends on the support of the local community and the generosity of the people who donate toys.  
“My car was full of toys! I was impressed with the number of gifts that I was able to take to the drop off location. It lifted my spirits!” - Judy, Marketing
 

We hope to keep traditions going & maybe add a few more volunteer efforts in the New Year. Keep in touch with all our social outlets to see what we’ll be up to in 2018, and for more behind the scenes updates!

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Running for Playworks, Because Play Works!

When is the last time you put down your phone or iPad for a few hours and went outside to play, or to volunteer?

At least once a quarter, we at CRS Temporary Housing make it a priority to find a worthy cause to donate our time and treasure to. We call our special

group of volunteers CRS Helping Hands. Employees are encouraged to participate, along with their families, to help these community groups in a myriad of ways.

Playworks Arizona

On Saturday, April 8th, 65 CRS employees and their families, participated in the 5th Annual Run The Runway in Scottsdale, AZ. This one-of-a-kind morning run benefited Playworks Arizona, the only nonprofit organization in the country to send trained, full-time coaches to low-income, urban schools, where they transform recess and play into a positive experience that helps kids and teachers get the most out of every learning opportunity.

The beauty of this annual event is that 100% of race proceeds go to Playworks. Those funds are used to expand their reach to Arizona schools in desperate need of recess and the learning of conflict resolution to help end bullying.

www.playworks.org/communities/arizona  

CRS Helping hands at the Andre House, Larkspur Elementary and St. Mary's Food Bank

CRS Helping hands at the Andre House, Larkspur Elementary and St. Mary's Food Bank

Here are just a few volunteer events that we have participated over the past year:

 

Andre House 

CRS Helping Hands volunteers spent a day in December at the André House, a ministry to the homeless and poor populations of the Phoenix area. Volunteers sorted donated clothing, helped guests select free apparel from the Andre House Clothing Closet and prepared a full dinner for 600 people.

www.andrehouse.org

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Back to School Drive

In August, our school supplies drive collected over 2,000 items for nearby Larkspur Elementary School in Phoenix. That gift of supplies, along with a financial donation, helped to jump-start the 2016 school year for the students at Larkspur.

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St. Mary’s Food Bank  

CRS Helping Hands June event was packing emergency food boxes with non-perishable items, sorting food and repacking bulk produce. Our efforts greatly helped St. Mary’s goal to provide more than 250,000 meals each day to those in our community who need their help the most.

www.firstfoodbank.org

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AZ Humane Society

Over a weekend in April, members of CRS Helping Hands helped make blankets for the sweet fur babies at the Arizona Humane Society and even gave a few forever homes.

www.azhumane.org

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What have you done lately?

Take a moment to think about you love to do and how you can share your time and passion to help someone in need. Whatever your motivation, whether to share a skill, get to know a community or to learn something new, know that both you and the recipient will benefit from your gracious actions. National volunteer week is coming up April 23 – 29, so get out there and make a difference!



www.playworks.org/communities/arizona

www.runtherunwayaz.com

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