Paz de Cristo, or Peace of Christ, is a food bank that serves an estimated 50,000 meals each month to families, veterans and seniors in need around the Valley for 30 years, more than half of that time at Mesa Community College (MCC).
Paz de Cristo also provides people with clothing and showering facilities, and assists with job searches.
It also serves meals to more than 300 people every night. Individual meals and emergency food boxes are prepared and given out every day.
The non-profit group just celebrated its 30th anniversary in September.
For more than 20 years, Paz de Cristo and MCC have joined together to raise money for their cause.
Last year, they raised $16,000 between the Red Mountain and the Southern and Dobson campuses.
“In Mesa, more than 30 percent of people are living on an income that barely covers the essentials for daily life,” Shelley Nelson, director of marketing and development at Paz de Cristo, said.
Since the partnership, MCC and Paz de Cristo have hosted Empty Bowls events on campus.
The Empty Bowls is an international project that supports other colleges and organizations to combat hunger.
At MCC, the fundraising event includes presenting handcrafted bowls uniquely created by students in exchange for a $10 donation.
Each year, there are two events held in the month of October. During the event, a meal of soup, bread and water is enjoyed in observance of World Hunger Day.
This is to represent the caloric intake of many throughout an entire day.
“We enjoy working with students, especially in our collaboration with Mesa Community College, and so they just bring a certain energy and a positive outlook and a real commitment to people in need,” said Nelson.
Christine Oliviero, business manager at Paz de Cristo, said the bowls are projects students make throughout the year.
“It’s an awesome event. We’re so happy that MCC choose us and continue to,” Oliviero said.
Paz de Cristo is located in Mesa, on Country Club Drive near Broadway Road.
Organizers say their proximity to MCC helps create a successful fundraiser close to home.
It also helps organizations and businesses contribute to the event, such as Red White & Brew that provided the soup.
Other contributors are Pita Jungle, T.C. Eggingtons, Trader Joe’s and Rich Products.
All the benefits from the Empty Bowls events go directly to Paz de Cristo to serve the community.
Faith Garland is a journalism student at Mesa Community College.
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