Child Crisis Center serves despite pandemic The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Child Crisis Center serves despite pandemic

Child Crisis Center serves despite pandemic
Mesa
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By Alison Bailin
Tribune Guest Writer

For more than 43 years, Child Crisis Arizona has served the Valley’s vulnerable children and families and is committed to ending child abuse and neglect through prevention, education and intervention programs.

CCA offers emergency shelters for children, teen moms and their babies, group home for teens in the foster care system, foster care and adoption services, as well as community-wide parenting classes, workshops, support groups and early education programs for low-income families.

Since 1977, Child Crisis Arizona has positively affected over 60,000 children and families.

“While many know our Phoenix location, we actually have eight classrooms at our Mesa Early Education Center, which is located at 817 N. Country Club Drive,” said CEO Torrie Taj.

  “Here, we currently serve 152 children in Mesa through our Early Education Program and will be serving an additional 28 children in preschool. The preschool classrooms are brand new and were just about to open when COVID-19 hit. We estimate that we will be serving 150 families when our preschool classrooms are fully enrolled.”

Amid COVID-19, CCA has had to suspend on-site early education programming and in-home visits with foster families.

Despite this challenge, however, the organization is still finding ways to serve families in the community with hot meals and resources served curbside.

In June alone, CCA will reach more than 6,000 adults and children, thanks to help from local leaders.

According to Taj, through local sponsors and advocates, each week families have been able to pick up hot meals from CCA’s Mesa center at no cost and without leaving their cars.

Other resources are also available including books, crafts and other activities for the kids to do at home.

“Everyone has had to deal with unexpected struggles during this quarantine but we know many of the families we serve have struggled just to put food on the table,” said Trevor Wilde, a CCA board member and sponsor of the program through his firm, Wilde Wealth Management Group.

“This curbside meal program has allowed us to check in on those families and provide some much-needed relief as well,” Wilde said. “We know that these meals are making a difference in our community and we are grateful for all the partners who’ve made it possible.”

Meals have also been provided to families in the agency’s foster care program.

“Many of these families have experienced high levels of anxiety and job loss,” says Taj. “In addition to weekly dinners, we have provided breakfast and lunch, some common pantry staples, and crafts and activities for children.”

CCA has also moved many services online and continues to look for additional ways to serve families during this unique time.

“If looking to get involved, I can attest this program not only gave our team a chance to help feed local families, but fed our souls at a time in our country when we could all use it,” said Wilde.

Taj noted that in addition to Wilde Wealth, other organizations including Fiesta Bowl Charities, Dominos and Salad and Go have stepped up, but additional sponsors and donations are needed to ensure the program can continue through the summer.

To learn more or get involved: childcrisisaz.org.

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