PHOENIX (December 6, 2022) – It’s the time of the year when children look forward to the most when Santa makes his annual visit. But for struggling families, this may be one of the toughest financial times of the year.
To help keep the holiday spirit alive, the Adult Probation Department, part of the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County, partnered with Valley organizations including the Frank X. Gordon Education Center, Terros Health, St. Mary’s Community Kitchen, Phoenix Police and Fire Departments and the Arizona Probation Officers Association to host its 27th Annual Turkey Feast celebration.
“The event is the heart of our mission as an agency. Providing a Thanksgiving meal and holiday gifts for the children continues to strengthen the partnership between the surrounding community, law enforcement, and probation. We value the opportunity to give back to the community we serve,” said Tiffany Grissom, Adult Probation division director for community transition and support. “This year, we served more than 500 meals and distributed over 300 gift bags filled with books, toys and stuffed animals.”
During the last five years, St. Mary’s Community Kitchen has helped prepare and cook more than 500 meals for the event. This culinary program provides job training to individuals who are having a difficult time finding or keeping work because of barriers they have faced in their lives. Community Kitchen is a division of the St. Mary’s Skill Center.
“Our partnership with the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department is essential to the Skills Center being successful,” said Brooke Beaudoin, senior program administration manager at St. Mary’s Food Bank Skills Center. “Approximately 70% of our clients are currently on probation/parole or have recently been incarcerated. With the support of the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department sending us referrals for students, we are able to help their clients find a job, keep their job and become a better person. For the Garfield Holiday event, Community Kitchen served over 500 individuals.”
The Phoenix Fire Department handed out stuffed animals to children at the event, which was held in the Historic Garfield neighborhood. Families who stopped by received a holiday meal in to-go boxes and had the option to stay and enjoy their meal while listening to music. Children participated in face-painting activities, visited with Santa and received a special gift bag.
Every year, dozens of Adult Probation staff members volunteer at the event by not only packaging gifts for kids but also donating toys and other items to be placed in the gift bags. Adult Probation Supervisor Nathan Chaplin has volunteered at the event for the last three years and says it’s a rewarding experience.
“Seeing the smiles in kids’ faces is why I like to volunteer at the event,” Chaplin said. “Especially when they may or may not have a full Christmas every single year because of the situation their families are in. Seeing them light up when they see Mr. and Mrs. Claus or get a stuffed animal, that makes all the work that goes into the event so much worth it.”
The Terros Health mobile clinic administered 40 flu vaccines and nearly a dozen COVID and booster shots were given to members of the public at the event. Terros Health staff also handed out COVID home tests and assisted the public in scheduling doctor’s visits and provided them with important health information.
More than 70 volunteers from various organizations including the Adult and Juvenile Probation Departments, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Maricopa County Human Service Department and our Maricopa County Workforce partners helped make this year’s Turkey Feast a successful event.
The Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County is comprised of Superior Court, Adult Probation and Juvenile Probation, which includes juvenile detention. The Judicial Branch in Maricopa County is the fourth largest trial court system in the nation and, along with its 3,000 employees, is dedicated to providing a safe, fair and impartial forum for resolving disputes, enhancing access to services, and providing innovative, evidence-based practices that improve the safety of the community and ensure the public’s trust and confidence in the Judicial Branch. For more information, visit superiorcourt.maricopa.gov
Contact: Clara Colmenero, PIO firstname.lastname@example.org (602) 372-0874