Last updated on May 27th, 2015 at 08:42 am
Associated Food Stores (AFS) staff members recently donated time and effort to put together care packages for Utah’s homeless teens.
AFS, the locally owned grocery supplier in Salt Lake City, donated 750 personal care kits to the Volunteers of America (VOA) Homeless Youth Resource Center on Wednesday, May 20. The kits contain basic hygiene items like hand sanitizer, a comb, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant in a string backpack. These will be handed out to youth living on the streets and utilized in VOA’s drop-in center.
Each year, about 1,000 Utah teens ages 18-24 experience homelessness, according to the Utah Comprehensive Report on Homelessness, which estimates that teens make up 6.7 percent of the homeless population. These teens are often in a state of desperation—searching for a safe place to stay, a bed, a warm meal, clean clothes, a shower and someone to talk to.
“VOA’s Homeless Youth Resource Center a supportive path from the street to self-sufficiency,” said Zach Bale, chief development officer for the center. “We aim to be the safety net and support that leads to basic need items, education, employment and critical life skills for these teens to reach their full potential. We couldn’t do this without the support of donations from the community.”
“It’s surprising to learn how many teens, young kids in my eyes—are experiencing the harshness of homelessness each day,” said Neal Berube, CEO of Associated Food Stores. “Helping Utah’s homeless youth is incredibly humbling and a good reminder that we can all do something to help our neighbors in need.”
VOA Utah is a nonprofit human services organization that serves people suffering from homelessness, addiction or mental illness. It has about 150 paid professional staff and more than 1,600 volunteers who serve an average of 10,000 people across the state of Utah each year. For more information, visit voaut.org.
Celebrating its 75th anniversary, AFS is an independent retailer-owned warehouse that provides complete warehouse facilities and services to more than 500 grocers throughout the Intermountain West, including Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.
The company entered retail operations in 1999 with its first corporately owned stores. Today, AFS owns and operates 42 stores under the Macey’s, Dan’s, Dick’s, Lin’s and Fresh Market banners.
AFS was established in 1940 when 34 independent retailers joined together to battle high supplier costs and competition from large chain stores.