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Southwest Human Development hosting holiday gift drive for local kids

(Southwest Human Development Website)

This month’s “KTAR Community Impact Spotlight” shines a light on Southwest Human Development’s work in local early childhood development and its support from Arizona Central Credit Union.

Founded in 1981, Southwest Human Development’s mission is to strengthen the foundation Arizona’s children need for a great start in life, mainly focusing on children up to the age of 5.

“Parents are really on their own when kids are that young, so that’s where Southwest Human Development comes in,” Chief Development Officer Jake Adams told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News. “We are experts on early childhood and that includes literacy, that includes development, that includes support for parents.”

Every holiday season, Southwest Human Development holds a holiday gift drive called “Gingerbread Kids” for children who may not have a gift otherwise.

Adams said in the past, the nonprofit reached out to businesses for support and received over 1,200 toys donations. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization is struggling to get commitments for this year.

“So many people are working from home and people are just not quite as connected as they have been in the past,” Adams said. “We have only been able to find help for about 500 so far.”

The nonprofit relies on community support to help them provide support to families around the state throughout the year.

Arizona Central Credit Union has not only supported the organization financially, but also helping with volunteer projects including providing stuffed animal “reading buddies” and putting together dental kits to be distributed.

The organization, Arizona’s largest nonprofit, offers more than 40,000 programs and services to 140,000 children and families, according to their website.

The foundation also has a help line staffed by early childhood experts for parents to call when they need questions answered.

“It’s all about the parents and caregiver, giving those folks the tools because they’re with them every single day,” Adams said.

More information on the gift drive and the foundation’s work can be found at their website.

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