Question: When and where do you serve your "kids"?
Answer: We serve our "kids" every Tuesday (rain or shine) at Jaycee Park in Tempe, Arizona at 5pm. Jaycee Park is located at 817 W. 5th Street.
Question: How many people do you serve?
Answer: We serve approximately 150 people each week. We serve a full warm meal and distribute donations
received throughout the week.
Question: What is the average age of those you serve?
Answer: Our "kids" range in age from 18 to 65. We will serve anyone in need who comes out for help.
Question: Is there an application process to volunteer?
Answer: Yes, there is. But, before we ask you to fill out a form, we request that you come out and see what we
do. See if it's a good fit for you! If you feel inclined to come back, then we'll get your information and
find out where you're interested in serving.
Question: Can I bring my kids out to volunteer? Is there an age limit?
Answer: We love it when people bring out their children! There is no age limit, but we do recommend parents
come out once first, before bringing their children. And parents must stay with their children at all times.
Things to know
* There is foul language out there. The "kids" try to curb it when they see little people volunteering, but it's
part of their vernacular and sometimes it slips.
* Our clients have dogs and the dogs are their protectors - please don't let your kids think it's okay to go up
and pet the dogs.
* This experience leads to many good discussions. My kids have been coming out since they were little. The
conversation home is always interesting; discussions about choices and behavior, lots of conversation
Question: What can I expect if I come out?
Answer: This is difficult to answer because everyone experiences something different when they come out. Our
"kids" are polite and kind, grateful and loving. We've heard from previous volunteers, "Your kids are
more polite than my daughter's swim team!" "I couldn't believe how kind they were. They all said thank
you." These comments warm my heart . . . .
Question: How long does the volunteering go and what will be expected of me?
Answer: We ask volunteers to be at the park between 5-5:15pm. Volunteers can be asked to do anything from:
handing out hygiene items to distributing dog food. You may be asked to help serve dinner or distribute
items. The schedule is typically as follows:
5pm Dinner is served by the group who is doing the cooking!
5:20pm Clothing and other items are brought out for distribution
6:15pm Cleanup (we try to leave the park as we found it - so cleanup is important)
6:30pm We head to the laundromat at 5th and Beck (right down the street) Volunteers are welcome to
join us if they like, but many choose to leave after serving at the park and that's fine!
Question: Can I bring a group out?
Answer: OF COURSE! We love groups! Please contact Summerr with any questions at
Question: If my group wants to serve dinner on a Tuesday, what do I need to know?
Answer: Please contact Summerr at email@example.com to sign up. She will provide all the information
* Please plan on serving 150.
* If you do not have servers available, let us know! We have plenty of people willing to help!
* We will provide four rectangular tables for serving.
* There is no electricity available - so everything needs to be cooked and warm ahead of time.
* We ask that both water and dessert be included in your planning, but please feel free to reach out to
us if you need some help!
Question: I'm a little nervous. Any words of advice before I show up?
Answer: Our kids come out week after week because we offer them kindness. We love them. Just your presence
alone is what they need. Look them in the eye. Smile. Remember that you may be the only kind face
they've seen all week. And please remember that they are in survival mode; struggling for shelter and
food. What we provide is a reprieve from that struggle. Don't be afraid to talk to them. Shake their
hands. Introduce yourself. Be present. This experience can be life altering for both you and them!
Question: Are you affiliated with a church?
Answer: We are not affiliated with a Church. There are various "feeds" around Tempe on different nights
provided by churches and other religious organization. We make it a point to not "preach" to our kids
about religion. We all have different views and faiths and respect each other for that diversity. We do
not feel it is our place to impose our views or faiths on the kids we serve. We are there to love them.
Question: How many of your kids are addicted to drugs?
Answer: Unfortunately, drugs are rampant on the streets. These kids are literally sleeping under bridges and
struggling to survive. They "use" to make it through the day, to deal with the trauma of their pasts, to
feel nothing for a little while. They do not need our judgment. We go out to give them a reprieve - to
help them feel a little bit of comfort in their lives.
Question: What is the ultimate goal of Aris?
Answer: Good question! For awhile, I thought it was to get them off the streets. But, my very wise mother asked
me, "Are you sure that's your goal?" I thought about it and decided that was the answer that people
wanted to hear . . . . That is not the goal! The goal is to love them where they're at. The goal is to make
sure that every one of our "kids" knows that when they're ready, they can contact us to help them. If
that help means a meal, so be it! If it means they want help getting off the streets, fantastic! If they just
need a hug, that's okay, too. Our goal is simply to love them.
Question: Do you have any success stories?
Answer: Our success is in day-to-day triumphs . . . . But, we are also very proud of the fact that we have helped
ninety-one "kids" who have gotten off the streets. They have jobs, some have cars, some have
kids of their own, some even have benefits! The most important things is that they know that they're
not alone! And the icing on the cake is that many of them come back to volunteer with us!
Question: What does Aris mean?
Answer: Absolutely nothing! Aris Foundation was named after the town my Dad was born in - it's a small village in
the south of Greece. But, we are trying to come up with a neat acronym to tell people! :-)
Question: We understand you have no salaries. What are your biggest administrative expenses?
Answer: Our biggest administrative expense is the storage unit we rent to store our donations. Second would be
this website and email addresses.
Question: If so much of your donations are in-kind, where does the money go?
Answer: We spend donations on various things.
Transportation Kids need to get around town to get jobs, make appointments, get to the doctor/dentist.
We buy many bus passes to help with this. There are also situations where we will purchase
Greyhound bus tickets to get them "home" if they can prove they have a safe place to go to.
Food When kids get a place, they often have trouble making ends meet. We will supply food boxes and
give them hygiene items. We buy Subway for kids who are on the streets who are in emergency food
Medical Expenses We pay for our kids to get glasses and have emergency dental services. We also pay
Clothing We occasionally have a client who has a need. For example, we have a client with size 18 feet -
which are virtually impossible to get in a donation. We just purchased him shoes!
Rental/Utility Assistance In rare occasions, we provide funds to help keep a kid in housing when they fall
on difficult times.
Dollar Store We purchase batteries, deodorant, razors, hand sanitizer, readers, sunglasses, etc. We love
the Dollar Store!
Fun Stuff We use funds to purchase fun-stuff like Sharpie markers, coloring books and art supplies!
Question: Many people are opposed to feeding people in the park. How do you respond to this criticism?
Answer: We feed our "kids" in the park because there is currently not one shelter or hydration station in all
of Tempe where we can care for them. As soon as there is, we will consider moving our services. Until
then, we will keep our goal in mind - we will love them where they're at. And right now, that's the park
on Tuesday nights!
Question: I'm sure the neighbors are not happy with your presence in that area. How do you combat that?
Answer: We strive to be good neighbors to the people living in the vicinity of Jaycee Park. We communicate with the park staff as well. They appreciate the efforts our volunteer goes to in order to keep the park clean for everyone!
Another thing we do is talk to the kids we serve. We tell them that it's important for them to keep the
park clean - and free from drugs and crime. This may seem silly, but please know how much our
kids appreciate what we do. When we come to them with a request, they tend to listen.
Question: What is the best way to help you if I don't have time to volunteer?
Answer: Please clean out your closets! Have your neighbors clean out their closets. If you see a yard sale in your
neighborhood, approach them and tell them we'd be happy to provide them with a tax donation
receipt. It's difficult to describe how many clothes we hand out weekly.
Question: Do you accept gently used clothing?
Answer: YES, YES, YES! Most of the donations we receive are used. The only thing we request be new is
underwear because . . . well, there really is no need for explanation! Ha!
Question: I have children's clothes to donate. Do you have children out on Tuesday nights who need things?
Answer: Thankfully NO!!! That would be heartbreaking to me! We occasionally will see a family who is "food
insecure" come out for dinner, but they are not typically homeless. We do, however, take children's
clothes as donations because we support a Tempe school that is 100% at the poverty rate. They have a
closet for kids who need things. We are thrilled to be able to help the kids!
Question: What about safety? Should I be concerned if I come out to volunteer with you?
Answer: In the eight years I have been working with this population, I have seen three fights. The kids
respect what we do and keep drama away from the park at all costs. But, having said that, we are very
grateful to the City of Tempe for providing a security team for us every Tuesday. These wonderful
people keep the Tempe safe and we're thrilled that they come out week after week.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to us and we'll do our best to get you