To support and provide for the unhoused in Downtown Phoenix, P4P Construction has joined forces with the charitable efforts of nonprofit Avondale Moose Lodge.
Every other month, members of Avondale Moose Lodge feed and clothe the less fortunate in Downtown Phoenix.
Ryan McGarry, a member of Avondale’s Loyal Order of Moose and CEO of P4P Construction, attended these events with his family and decided to get the employees at his new construction company involved as well.
A group of around 25 Moose Lodge members, P4P Construction employees and their families came together for the first time on Jan. 23, providing around 200 homeless people with meals, clothing, blankets, pillows as well as medical and hygiene supplies.
“From a business aspect, we’re not a million-dollar company, but it’s the feeling of making a difference and helping,” McGarry said.
Founded in August, P4P Construction is a veteran-owned company in Buckeye specializing in residential, commercial and industrial services.
The two organizations’ goal is to attract other local businesses to join them in future events to help grow and expand their network of volunteers, also to gather more funding and donations.
The next charity event will be held at the end of March.
Lisa Bristol, an elected member of The Women of the Moose, said she sees how grateful people are to receive the donations each time she participates in these events.
“It does make you feel good knowing that you made their day a little brighter,” she said.
The conjoined efforts started early that morning in the Avondale Moose Lodge kitchen. Volunteers came together at 7 a.m. to prepare meals consisting of sandwiches, Gatorade bottles as well as snacks like fruit and chips.
After the meals were prepared, volunteers made their way to Downtown Phoenix and started setting up folding tables full of clothes, food and other supplies in front of Gallery 119 located on West Jefferson Street and South 11th Avenue.
The gallery’s owners have allowed the volunteers to use the site to distribute goods during these events for a long time over the years, Bristol said.
“We had so many clothes, blankets and pillows. It was almost like a shopping spree for them,” McGarry said.
There were clothes left over at the end of the event.
“A lot of them sit there and chat with us and have a conversation. It’s really cool,” McGarry said. He mentioned a woman who stayed and chatted with the volunteers the entire time they were passing out materials, saying, “It seemed like it made her day.”
This event was “really rewarding,” Bristol said. She’s seen the events grow bigger and more successful as time goes on, with more people joining and more donations being collected.
The Women of the Moose have been doing these events for approximately five years, she said.
“It started out with our members donating items,” she said. As the years went on, Bristol said she began reaching out to companies for donations.
In the past, Kia Motors donated a large sum of water bottles, Bristol said. Pepsi gave about 800 bottles of Gatorade and water.
“Whatever they have, we take it,” she said about the Pepsi donations. “It’s really nice, and that lasts us quite a while.”
However, “this past year was a tough season,” Bristol said. This year that substantial donation from Pepsi didn’t happen. “But lots of other people donated.”
She emphasized how donations are “really hard” to come by, “so it’s really nice if we can get businesses to donate stuff, too.”
McGarry is sending fliers and using his company blog to get the word out to other businesses who may want to donate or join the charitable efforts, he said.
The Moose Lodge’s roots can be traced back to 1888. It was initially created with the intention of offering men an opportunity to gather, socialize and celebrate life, also to care for each other’s needs.
The organization has since expanded to a combined membership of over 1 million members in its Loyal Order of Moose as well as Women of the Moose, with its outreach spreading throughout all 50 states, Canada as well as Great Britain, according to its website.
Each year, the nonprofit contributes between $75 million and $100 million worth of community service to help seniors, children and teens in need, as well as the community as a whole, it states.
Over the years that the Women of the Moose have held these events, the volunteers have grown accustomed to seeing familiar faces, Bristol said.
A homeless woman stayed in the gallery’s paint studio and watched over it, Bristol explained. She always knew when the volunteers were coming to pass out donations, and Bristol mentioned that they would always bring her something special.
Some time went on and Bristol noticed that the woman was no longer to be found, she said, adding that she asked what happened to her, “hoping that everything was good.”
Someone filled Bristol in, letting her know the woman got an apartment of her own and took care of some of the major issues that were holding her back, she said.
“That was pretty awesome to hear that, because you don’t always get to know that,” she said. “You just hope they’re safe.”
One of the most fulfilling parts of the January event was seeing all the kids participate, Bristol said.
“They were so energetic and so helpful and just so nice to everybody,” she said. “It was just amazing. I can’t even emphasize enough how nice it was.”
Kids have participated in these events in the past, but at this event, Bristol said it was particularly rewarding to see eight enthusiastic kids bagging up food and passing it out to the homeless individuals, she said.
“It’s rewarding and it teaches your children, and it gives your homeless just a little bit of food in their belly that day and maybe some clean clothes,” Bristol said.
“You’re not changing their world. You’re just making it a brighter day.”