Companies, others offer back-to-school help

Youngsters in need will start the school year right thanks to numerous Scottsdale efforts. (HeroZona Foundation/Special to the Progress)

With the start of the school year right around the corner, many organizations and businesses around the Valley, including Scottsdale, are either still in need of school supplies or ready to hand out supplies to students in need.

Scottsdale-based nonprofit organization HeroZona Foundation will host its seventh annual Phoenix Tools 4 Schools event 7-11 a.m. July 27 at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix.

At the free event, which is expected to draw an estimated 15,000 attendees, kindergarten through eighth grade students and family members can pick up backpacks, notebooks, writing utensils and more while supplies last.

The HeroZona Foundation event will also offer college prep workshops from Maricopa Community Colleges and Arizona State University, a carnival-like atmosphere with games, and a free breakfast catered by Artisan by Santa Barbara Catering.

Baxter, the mascot of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Sparky, the mascot of Arizona State University; and the Phoenix Suns’ Gorilla will all make special appearances as well.

“Our goal is to make sure that Arizona students focus on getting a good education, instead of worrying about how to purchase the basic supplies necessary to start the year,” said U.S. Army Desert Storm Veteran and HeroZona Foundation co-founder Alan “AP” Powell.

“Through providing the resources necessary for their school year, we are investing in our future leaders and building stronger communities,” Powell added.

Over the past six years, the Tools 4 Schools annual event has impacted more than 40,000 students and family members.

Leading up to the annual event, members of HeroZona Foundation, along with community partners and volunteers, will pack the backpacks at South Mountain Community College on July 25.

Those interested in helping to pack the bags and/or volunteer at the event itself can register online at

Also taking place July 27, Scottsdale-based Integrity Capital and Phoenix Rescue Mission will hand out school uniforms for children of homeless and low-income families.

Integrity Capital and Phoenix Rescue Mission beat their fundraising goal of $15,000 by over $2,000.

They ended up raising $17,350, and the money was used to purchase school uniforms.

Families can pick up uniforms from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 27 at Jack L. Kuban Elementary School in Phoenix.

For students in the foster care system, specifically, TruWest Credit Union is hosting its Back-to-School Supply Drive through August 16 at its eight branch locations and headquarters.

Items in need include lined notebook paper, composition books, glue, all writing utensils, three-ring binders, scissors and much more.

A full list of supplies needed is posted on TruWest’s website at

Donations will benefit Helen’s Hope Chest, a Mesa-based nonprofit that supports Arizona’s foster families, and Baty Elementary School in Austin, Texas.

Those interested in donating can drop off supplies during business hours at TruWest Credit Union’s McCormick Branch at 7333 N. Via Paseo Del Sur.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix (BGCMP) has teamed up with Twin Peaks for a summer sports equipment drive.

“We are thrilled to partner with Twin Peaks for this drive,” said Jill Johnson, BGCMP director of strategic partnerships. “The generosity of donors is truly what makes our programs possible. Having Twin Peaks and their customers step up this summer is going to make a huge impact.”

Through Aug. 2, any new sports equipment for kids ages 6 to 18, including basketballs, soccer balls and footballs, can be donated at any Twin Peaks location.

Those who donate will receive a $5 Twin Peaks gift card to be used at a future date, and the equipment will be used to support BGCMP’s summer camps.

“Giving back to the community and being able to help kids is truly rewarding as a local business owner,” said Carolyn Vangelos, Twin Peaks co-owner. “We are so excited to help provide new equipment with the hope that these kids will have the best time at camp.”

The Scottsdale Twin Peaks is located at 8787 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd.

Four miles west, Mark-Taylor’s Bellagio apartments in Scottsdale – in conjunction with Tempe-based nonprofit organization, Love Society – are collecting new, packaged wet hair brushes through Aug. 31.

Their goal is to collect 100 wet brushes, which won’t be donated to schools or students, but instead will be used to make “love bags” for the pediatric cancer unit at Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH).

In addition to the brushes, the bags will be filled with healthy snacks and fun activities; they are intended to ease the stress of the parents whose children are admitted to the hospital.

New brushes can be dropped off Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bellagio apartments at 5635 E. Bell Rd.