Times of crisis can create some of the most defining moments for a community. Even with the threat and fear of an unseen virus looming in our neighborhoods and thoughts, Arcadians are sticking closer than ever to one another. Well, at least six feet apart.
“We are so incredibly lucky to live in a beautiful, civically-proud neighborhood,” Stacey Wachnov said. Wachnov is one of many Arcadia residents who chose to come to the aid of her community during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Small business owners, restaurants, bars and residents have all stepped-up to nurture the community that they live, work and play in.
O.H.S.O. Brewery + Distillery paused distillery operations to convert to hand sanitizing manufacturing.Banner Health reached out to O.H.S.O. to see if they had the resources to manufacture hand sanitizer, and that led to something much bigger.
“From there, hundreds of health organizations were reaching out to us,” Operations Manager Adam Davis said. “We have contributed over 600 gallons of hand sanitizer at cost. We have donated our time and effort, but the receiving organizations have paid for the cost of the materials. We have not made a penny on this project.”
O.H.S.O. has also donated to Valleywise Health, Circle the City, Sonora Quest Laboratories, Gila River Health, S.A.A.R.C., Solterra Assisted Living, New Horizons, North Chandler Place and Dignity Health. “And the list keeps growing,” Davis said.
O.H.S.O. hand sanitizer ingredients:
Hydrogen Peroxide: .125%
Sarah Pyper provides free live 30-minute Pilates classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.When social distancing went into full effect, Pilates instructor Sarah Pyper started putting her workout videos online.
“I started sending videos to clients who requested workouts. Many of them told me they were sharing these videos with family and friends, even out of state and in other countries.” As the number of clients who wanted videos grew and grew, Pyper realized that it would be easier to put her videos on social media.
“Arcadia truly is a small town in a big city, and it brings comfort to me to know that there are good people here who want to support each other. We are lucky. I love reading about families who come together to help others. So much goodness going on through this strange time. We all have talents and strengths that we can share,” Pyper said.
Check out Sarah’s Facebook page for free videos or to sign up for a virtual class membership or private appointments for “those who want a little more.”
Melissa Heinrichs of Flowers by Mel gives away “COVID-19 Kindness Flowers” and hosts a flower arranging demonstration called “Front Yard Flowers.”“When I began homeschooling my three elementary-aged kids, I needed to keep them busy and positive. I also needed to teach them the severity of what was going on, and I thought this would be a good way to make things real for them and in turn support the people in our community,” Heinrichs said. “We are friends with a lot of small business owners in Arcadia, and I wanted to show them my appreciation.”
That turned into doing it every week for teachers, doctors, wives of police officers, teenagers celebrating their birthdays safely at home, elderly neighbors, friends celebrating anniversaries and chairs of fundraisers that weren’t happening.
“Flower arranging classes and events are a big part of my business, so I thought that’d be another fun way to give back to the people that I miss and care for,” Heinrichs said.
For more: flowersbymelarcadia.com.
Arcadia resident Stacey Wachnov, her husband Steven Gross and their son Jonah decided to set-up a “sharing and giving table” to help their neighbors.
“As a family, we believe strongly in the Jewish concept of tzedakah, which many translate as ‘charity,’ but means justice. Everyone needs help from time to time, even if it’s just a spare can of soup or a couple rolls of toilet paper,” Wacknov said.
Jen Kerns started Operation Senior Smiles.The inspiration for spreading smiles came from Jen Kerns’ three-year-old son, Taven.
“As we were making art care packages for grandparents, he asked, ‘what happens if someone doesn’t have a kid to send them art? We should send them a smile, too,’” Kerns said.
Seniors in care facilities are under strict lockdown orders preventing social interaction and visitors. Kerns started the program so that seniors wouldn’t feel so alone and know that people are thinking of them.
“We’re so inspired by how this movement has taken off. This has been such a unique time, and we realize how isolating this can feel to seniors in facilities,” Kerns said. “We’re happy to be able to help spread smiles through art and our community.” So far, they have donated 500 pieces.
Send art to: Operation Senior Smiles, P.O. Box 5025, Phoenix, AZ 85010.
For more: operationseniorsmiles.com.
Flower Street Urban Gardens encourages victory gardens.Alex Billingsley of Flower Street Urban Gardens is providing online videos for folks who want to learn more about gardening. Video content includes fruit trees, planting, composting, vertical gardens and trimming. They are also providing free edible planting calendars for those in Maricopa County.
One important focus of the videos is teaching people how to create victory gardens, which were developed during WWII. Over 20 million people participated in these gardens, and by some estimates produced over 40 percent of fresh produce during the war.
“As the country has really lost track about where our food is coming from, these are activities that are proven to help mental health and it’s accessible to anyone. To bring back victory gardens is something that I think should be out there more. It’s important to be able to look at history and what went right and what can be changed to help us move forward through difficult times,” Billingsley said.
For more: visit the Flower Street Urban Gardens Facebook and YouTube channel.
Malee’s Thai Bistro partnered with HonorHealth Scottsdale Osborn to create a Buy a Meal or Send a Meal donation program for hospital staff.“When we were in the first week of March, we realized how quickly everything was changing with COVID-19. We decided to close our dining room before most restaurants in Scottsdale to be proactive about this virus,” owner Deidre Pain said.
“During this time, I was completely devastated. I had to lay off so many employees, some that had worked for me for 20 and 30 years. We didn’t know what the future was for Malee’s,” Pain said.
Malee’s marketing team jumped into action and called HonorHealth to start a partnership with the COVID-19 floors of the hospital. The program, called Buy a Meal or Send a Meal, allows the community to come together to rally around hospital heroes and show their support by providing meals for staff.
“Everyone at the time felt helpless, and this provided a way for them to do good for the hospital staff while following the stay-at-home orders. With customers supporting the hospital heroes, they are also supporting our small business and helping us to stay in business too. It’s been a great program, and it feels good that we can help our community in this way,” Pain said.
For more: maleesonmain.com.
The Shemer Art Center is offering virtual classes for artists. The staff and instructors at Shemer have converted their in-person art classes to virtual courses, created a new app and uploaded a custom art activity book. Shemer has also created a virtual tour so that folks can visit the latest exhibits. The activity book features images sketched by instructors for coloring or painting, as well as drawing lessons. For more: shemerartcenter.org.
Art One Gallery will be hosting weekly video sessions where they introduce Art One employees and artists. People are welcome to reach out if there is an artist they want to know more about at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more: artonegalleryinc.com.
Arcadia High alumna Rae Aaron started a mentoring program for current AHS students that kicked off in mid-April. The goal of this program is for Arcadia students and recent alumni to build community through personal relationships in the time of coronavirus and beyond. This program will help AHS seniors (and younger students) navigate the transition from high school to college by matching them with an alum with similar interests while providing online seminars hosted by alumni on their area of expertise.
My Three Girls Bakery is holding a contest for kids in the neighborhood. Send My Three Girls a photo of your child doing their school work for a chance to win a half dozen cupcakes or cookies. Send in your child’s name, photo and contact number. Winners are drawn every Saturday. Email photos to email@example.com.
My Slice of the Pie Pizzeria is offering a promotion for people to purchase meals for healthcare workers. Folks can buy a pizza meal and feed a group of four at Banner Health. For more: mysliceofthepiepizzeria.com.
The 2020 Scottsdale Art Festival is now being featured online. There’s also an option to buy a virtual ticket to donate to Scottsdale Arts and be entered to win a Scottsdale Art goodie bag. For more: scottsdaleartsfestival.org.
Whisked Away Cooking School is offering online cooking classes for parents and kids. Through Zoom, folks can learn how to cook dishes such as ricotta-mascarpone stuffed shells and monkey bread muffins. Each class is $5. For more: whiskedaway.net.
Shepherd of the Hills Church has moved their worship services through online live-streaming at least through the middle of May. AA meetings, meditation groups and all other activities have been moved to virtual meeting places. A phone list was created for the most vulnerable members for check-ins to see if they need anything. They are also donating 100
Red Cross cots to government authorities
if/when they open facilities.
At Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, members of the congregation are regularly checking in with seniors to make sure they have everything they need. All bible studies have been moved to video chat, and worship services are on their YouTube channel. For more: popphoenix.org.
Arcadia High School’s PTO is looking for volunteers to join their executive board for next year.
Job descriptions are available at arcadiapto.org. This opportunity is an excellent way for parents to get involved and support the school and the community for things such as Project Graduation and hospitality/health. For more: contact Linda Schlenker at firstname.lastname@example.org
The third grade teachers from Christ Lutheran School were really missing their students’ smiles. Teacher Heidi Ashworth and the rest of the third grade team put up banners and signs around the front patio of her Arcadia home and had the parents and students drive by.
“They wore their CLS spirit shirts and gave us ‘air hugs and kisses,’” said Ashworth. “It was great to see our students again!”
“From the LDV Winery Vineyard Kitchen” is a new Facebook Live concept happening on May 7. Guests can log on to the LDV Winery Facebook page and join owners Peggy Fiandaca and Curt Dunham in the kitchen as they make dinner with items they currently have in their pantry. Guests can cook along with Peggy and Curt, who will also offer wine tips and pairing suggestions for each meal. For more: visit the LDV Winery Facebook page.
The food pantry and Celebrate Recovery are both still available at
Christ Church Lutheran. The pantry is now a drive-through model. Families can drive up and receive goods without having to exit their cars. Celebrate Recovery is taking place virtually on Thursdays. There are life groups that meet through Zoom, plus all the step groups are still active. “Our main priority is to love the people around us, most safely and responsibly,” staff member Jeff Tucker said. “Within our congregation, we’ve tried to bolster our social media and phone ministry, just so people know that we love them, care about their wellbeing and miss seeing them.” Bible studies/groups have moved over to virtual platforms. Sunday services are being streamed through Facebook Live.
The Arizona Humane Society has launched virtual pet training sessions. AHS is offering video consultations via Zoom, Skype or FaceTime. Folks will learn how to deal with pet behavior issues, basic training techniques and better communication with their pets. Classes are $20 for 30 minutes. For more: azhumane.org/training.
Arizona-based Classic Hotels & Resorts is donating 500 two-night packages to healthcare workers as part of the Healthcare Heroes campaign launched in early April to honor those helping to fight COVID-19. People are asked to nominate their own Healthcare Heroes by sharing their stories with a video or photo of the nominee. People can choose a healthcare worker by posting on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #hospitality4healthcareheroes. CH&R will randomly select 250 recipients after nominations close on May 15. For more: classichotels.com/hospitality4healthcareheroes.
The City of Phoenix’s Department of Human Services is making sure all 15 of the city’s senior centers are being kept in contact with and offering services such as weekly check-ins and meal services. For more: phoenix.gov.
Arizona Derby Dames (AZDD) Inspire is a local nonprofit group that works with the Department of Education and the USDA to help feed the hungry each summer. “We feel it is important to show these young roller derby athletes how to give back to their communities and how to make a difference,” said AZDD Inspire member Shannon. The nonprofit partnered with One Nutrition to deliver meals around Phoenix and Tucson. So far, they have provided over 6,500 meals.
Three Brophy alums created the Bronco Neighbors, a community outreach program whose mission is to deliver groceries, medications and other necessities to the most vulnerable and isolated in Arcadia for free. Send requests to Patrick Wintergalen at email@example.com.
Photographer Sandra Tenuto reached out to families on the Arcadia Parents Google Group page asking if anyone would like to capture their “quarantine moments.” While everyone is at home creating new memories and coming up with new ways to keep busy, Tenuto offered to take paparazzi-type photos from a safe distance away – all with no charge or fees, just a suggested donation. The idea gained popularity quickly and Sandra photographed over 300 families in the Arcadia area and beyond. Some of the photos are featured on the cover of this edition of Arcadia News.
To check out her portfolio, visit: