Sun Lakes wins with Neighbors Who Care
Eric Ehst, Executive Director
Neighbors Who Care was a big winner at the Fast Pitch competition on March 4, taking home the Kiita “Get Up and Go” award. Fast Pitch is kind of like Shark Tank for charities. Over 50 of the top charities in the valley are nominated each year; 20 semi-finalists are selected to go through a two-month coaching process and eight finalists are chosen to make a three minute presentation to a sold out crowd of valley leaders at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Winners are picked based on community impact, innovativeness of their program (really tough for an organization whose biggest job is having volunteers drive homebound seniors to the doctor) and the quality of the presentation.
This is a real test for a small local organization like NWC. It’s hard to make what we do, community volunteers helping homebound and disabled seniors to continue living in their own homes, sound new, sexy, innovative or appealing to a high-tech, high energy crowd. They want and expect to hear about the latest trends and fads: social media, computers, education funding, even homelessness; not delivering soup to seniors.
Every charity that’s nominated is a champion and the competition is tough. Neighbors Who Care is the only senior service organization and the only group not headquartered in one of the major cities to make it to the semi-finals and we not only were a finalist, but we won one of the top awards.
While it’s really rewarding for me to stand up on stage and accept a prize, the real winners are the people we serve – people like Kay who we drove to medical appointments, delivered meals to, and supported in numerous ways while she recovered from spinal surgery. And Maggie who is 85 and barely surviving on Social Security after she and her (now deceased) husband spent all of their assets on his medical bills. She is now fighting her own battle with cancer. Our volunteers take her to chemotherapy, deliver meals, help her keep her house maintained, and, every month when the money runs low, provide some free meals paid for by your donations. Our oldest client, Elizabeth, is now 102. Our support allows her to keep living independently in the home she loves, with the husband she loves.
I’m very proud to be associated with Neighbors Who Care and with the community members who make the organization go. This award is further recognition that NWC is one of the most efficient and effective charities in Arizona. Our volunteers are selfless and hardworking and our donors get the most bang for their buck. Those are the people who deserve the recognition.
Our less fortunate neighbors need us and we need your help. As always, if you know of someone who needs our help or if you would like to experience the deep personal satisfaction that comes from volunteering to assist your neighbors, contact us at 480-895-7133; e-mail www.neighborswhocare.com.