By Jennifer Adams
In a year when we have been kept physically apart from family, friends and neighbors, and when in-person social activities have paused, residents across Tempe made extra efforts to safely and virtually come together for good causes on GAIN Night on Oct. 17.
They showed resilience in adapting to the times and compassion in organizing food drives for those in need.
One night each year, residents across Tempe gather for outdoor parties as part of GAIN — Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods — which has long been Arizona’s version of the National Night Out tradition.
In 2020, that was not as easy. Due to COVID-19, Tempe encouraged neighbors not to hold physical gatherings, but to come together in other creative and virtual ways.
And did they ever!
Many Tempe neighborhoods held food-donation drives to benefit various agencies. Resident Ron Tapscott, an organizer of Tempe Neighborhoods Together, came up with the catchphrase “Tempe Gains by Giving” to capture the spirit of a very different GAIN Night. His neighborhood and many others donated 3,400 pounds of food to the Tempe Community Action Agency food pantry. That equates to more than 4,000 meals for people in need.
TCAA Executive Director Deborah Arteaga said the donations were needed due to the economic impacts of the pandemic on families.
On behalf of the city, sincere thanks to all the creative and generous neighborhoods that made this year’s GAIN Night even more special through food-donation drives, including Alta Mir Broadmor, Mitchell Park, Wilson Art & Garden, Meyer Park, Warner Ranch, Hughes Acres, Rural Geneva, Camelot Village, Indian Bend, Papago Parkway, Papago Parkview, Estate la Colina, Corona del Sol, Pheasant Ridge and Raintree.
To learn more about GAIN, and to see a slideshow of GAIN Night 2020 happenings, visit tempe.gov/GAIN.
If your neighborhood has photos to share of how you spent GAIN Night 2020, send them to Neighborhood Services Manager Shauna Warner at shauna_warner@ tempe.gov.
TCAA anticipates that donations of food and cash will continue to be needed through the holiday season. People who have never before relied on food-pantry assistance are coming forward now.
TCAA is holding several more drives this fall. Check its website for details at www.tempeaction.org.
Instead of accepting donations of turkeys and gift items for the holidays, TCAA requests donations of cash due to the pandemic so TCAA can provide gift cards to families who need to purchase turkeys and other items.
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Jennifer Adams is a member of the Tempe City Council.