Empty Bowls Events
At MCC’s annual Empty Bowls events, you can choose one of thousands of handcrafted bowls and dine on a simple meal of bread, soup and water in observance of World Hunger Day. All proceeds go directly to the nonprofit Paz de Cristo Community Center, which provides anti-hunger and empowerment support for the East Valley’s homeless, unemployed, working poor and their families. Silent auctions, featuring ceramic work by some of the Valley’s most talented artists, will be held at both MCC mid-day events from 10:30 – 2:30 p.m. Please join us! more . . .
3rd Annual Breakfast Fundraiser
Interested in supporting Paz by becoming a Table Captain for our breakfast? At the breakfast we will celebrate the progress we’ve made during the past year, review the new services now available to those we serve, and most importantly show how the lives of so many individuals and families have been changed for the better. Contact Arlen Westling at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 464-2370 x204 more . . .
Union Pacific Supports Paz de Cristo
The Union Pacific railway runs right behind the Paz de Cristo facility. They are a generous supporter of Paz de Cristo and ran the following article in their company newsletter and social media site. Often the working poor and elderly living in Mesa, Arizona, are forced to choose between buying groceries and paying their utility bills. By June, it's already a blistering 111 degrees in Mesa. As a result, the Paz De Cristo Community Center sees an increase in attendance every summer. "If they can eat here, or get one of our food boxes, they can use their grocery money to pay the utilities," said Arlen Westling, director of the center. Located on the west side of a city with a population of more than 455,000, Paz De Cristo Community Center is the only organization in the region that offers a hot meal every night. About 55 percent of the evening meal guests Paz De Cristo serves are homeless. The rest are the working poor, senior citizens or struggling single-parent families. In addition to a hot meal every night, Paz De Cristo also distributes about 1,300 food boxes every month. Each food box feeds a family of four for three days. As impressive as that is, Paz De Cristo provides more than food. "We provide all the basic things that might empower someone to make a go of it on their own," Westling said. more . . .
Paz gets new mural
The next time you come to Paz you will notice a new painting on the outside of our office entrance. You may remember the story in the AZ Republic in May about one of our employees being united with his sons after 19 years due to the publicity generated by our recent fire. Jean-Pierre Verdijo, the eldest son of Marcial works for a non-profit in Austin, TX called “Young Artists in Service”. The program works to create opportunities for young people to deepen into the spirit of service by engaging their communities through art. Jean-Pierre recruited some local youngsters to assist him in creating this mural. Thanks JP! The mural is a wonderful addition to Paz.
A Blessing in Disguise
There is an incredible story about one of our employees who first discovered the fire. The Mesa Fire Department awarded Lidia Beltran & Marcial Verdejo the “Good Samaritan Award” for their quick action in putting out the fire and preventing the fire from spreading and doing more damage. They were interviewed on several local TV channels and two of Marcials sons saw the interview and have reunited with Marcial after 19 years. The day after the news stories were reported, we received a call at Paz from one of Marcials’ sons by the name of Marcial Verdejo Jr. He told us he had not seen his Dad in 15 years and saw the news clip on the local news in Racine, WI. He was very excited to learn the whereabouts of his Dad and asked that we have Marcial call him. As you can imagine, it was a very emotional call for Marcial once he was able to get back in touch with his son. Marcial last saw his son when he was about 10-12 years of age, when his mother left Marcial and took the children with her. The next day we received a voice mail from another of Marcial’s sons by the name of Jean Pierre, who works at a nonprofit near Austin, TX. He had been contacted by Marcial Jr. and also viewed the Fox interview. He told us that he had not seen his father for 18 years, that he was very proud of him and would we please ask him to call since he had so much to tell him. We could not help but sense the emotion and excitement in his voice on the message he left. Jean Pierre said he grew up in homeless shelters and now works for a non-profit in Austin, Texas. He is making plans to visit Marcial in Phoenix this summer along with his son. Marcial says that this situation has changed his life and his view of himself as a person of worth. He looks forward to the opportunity to reunite with his children soon.
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