July 2016 Newsletter

Rio Vista Center

Phil* came to Rio in need of food and clothing. He was homeless and just recently released from prison. After serving 10 years, he had no idea where to go and had no one to go to. Phil came into the center hungry but left filled with God’s love. He came back every day for the next two years to serve. “I just want to be around the presence of the Lord,” he would often say.


Phil was an essential part of Rio’s life but we all knew that it was time for him take the next leap. Over the next couple months we helped him find a job and an apartment. Phil is now sustainably living on his own. The goal of Rio is not just food and clothing but sharing the love of Christ and helping people to sustainability.


*Name is changed.


Needs List:

Non-Perishable Food

Men’s and Kid’s Clothing

Food Drives

You Belong Here


Jason has been coming to the Rio Vista Center for a number of years but it wasn’t until recently that Christ took over his life. After falling off the wagon numerous times, Jason felt God’s urging to start serving at the Rio Vista Center. Over the summer he was baptized! Click to watch Jason’s story.

TurkeyDayEvery year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving the Rio Vista Center serves over 2,500 people from the community. Last year we distributed over 1,000 frozen turkeys during our annual Turkey Day. This year the Rio Vista Center is planning for over 1,500 families to attend the event. For this to happen we need turkeys! You can get involved through our Twenties for Turkeys drive. Twenty dollars provides a family with a frozen turkey to take home for their thanksgiving meal. Click to get involved.

Relationships at Rio Vista

An important part of meeting the needs of the Valley’s less fortunate is building relationships. When we go beyond providing a food box, a bag of clothes or employment help and really connect with the individuals at the center, that’s when true impact happens.

The Rio Vista Center is now a part of Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries (ABCS). One of the ABCS core values is to build relationships through trust and respect. At the center, we see relationships being built between volunteers, staff and visitors to the center. Lives are changed through these relationships, and God is glorified.

Jim, Rio Vista’s volunteer coordinator, decided to start a Bible study with other volunteers willing to stay after center hours on Tuesday evenings. Since the start of the study in April, two women have received Christ!

Sandra first visited the center in 2007. After her daughter was killed in a drive-by shooting she became guardian of her two grandchildren and has since struggled to provide for her family. She heard about Rio Vista from a friend and comes for monthly food boxes and clothing. Recently, Sandra shared with us her reasons for continuing to visit the center. “There are a lot of things in one place for me and my grandkids.” Sandra said. “I even go to church here!” Sandra added that she has made important relationships at Rio Vista. “I have friends here.”

Thank you for being a friend and partner to the Rio Vista Center. You belong here.

Rio Vista Center and ABCS are now one!

Rio Vista Center is now part of Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries (ABCS)! ABCS is a faith-based nonprofit organization with seven ministries and one mission: to provide hope and care to hurting children and families through Christ-centered ministries. The Rio Vista Center fits well with their mission, and both boards unanimously approved the move recognizing that together we are stronger.

Rio Vista’s programs will continue under our executive director Aaron Norwood. Rio Vista Center will remain on the campus of The Bridge Church with pastor Toni Valenti. We have had a New Life Pregnancy Center on campus for a few years, which is a ministry of ABCS. The longstanding partnership between the pregnancy center and Rio Vista helped build a strong relationship between our organizations, laying the foundation for Rio Vista to join ABCS.

What does this mean for Rio Vista Center supporters? Rio Vista will continue to serve in our community in the same capacity as before. You may continue to give to the Rio Vista Center on this site or by mail at 1431 E. Southern Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85040. Because Rio Vista is now a part of ABCS, your gifts are eligible for double the amount of dollar-for-dollar Arizona tax credits. For more information, visit abcs.org/taxcredit.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Visit abcs.org to learn more about ABCS.



For 2015 we are developing new ways to love our South Phoenix community by creating a sustainable atmosphere of healthy living. Our wellness@Rio initiative involves planting an urban farm in the back lot of the Rio Vista Center, beginning weekly health and nutrition classes, and starting our first-ever exercise classes. 
THE IMPACT: wellness@Rio will have a much greater impact for our community than just adding vegetables into diets. Arizona ranks third in the nation for high child food insecurity rates, meaning 456,760 children face hunger on a daily basis. Low income and minority populations are more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, and other problems contributing to inadequate nutrition. wellness@Rio will be a solution for our community facing these severe struggles. A healthy diet and lifestyle will result in children not going to school hungry. With the proper nutrition, students are better equipped to focus and succeed in school. A healthy diet means a generational shift to more informed health choices. Informed health choices means the prevalence of preventable health conditions such as type II diabetes, and various heart and cholesterol issues can be significantly lowered and prevented.

As our community cultivates the ground, we will also cultivate a new generation of knowledge. We will have take-home garden supplies for families to begin to grow their own fresh produce. The produce harvested will added to our existing free farmers markets. Our nutrition and health classes will partner with families to equip them with the understanding of how to incorporate the fresh produce into their meals, and to inform families of how to create a healthy menu.

wellness@Rio allows us to further love our community by creating long lasting, sustainable health solutions to fight against the severe prevalence of hunger and health diseases. Our new initiative is projected to cost $116,984 and will involve us as individuals, families, local businesses, and churches to take action together in volunteer hours and financial donations.

Please help us empower our neighbors to a new generation of healthy living by donating to our new initiative. 


Turkey Day 2014 was a huge success, with over 2,000 hot meals served and 1,049 frozen turkeys and food bags distributed to local families! Your generosity and partnership make this happen every year.



Our Annual Thanksgiving community dinner is coming up, Saturday, November 22, 2pm – 5pm. It is always the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
We are collecting food bags and frozen turkeys that we hand out to EVERY family represented that day. Last year we handed out over 900 food bags/turkeys before and after our community meal.
This is what goes in a bag:
For thanksgiving, we collect, for each bag:
4 cans of vegetables
1 box desert mix
2 cans of Yams
2 Box of stuffing
2 cans of cranberry sauce
2 box mashed potatoes
$10 for a turkey



Please contact Debbie to volunteer or with questions!


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Jamaica’s Story

Thank you for support, friendship, volunteer hours, prayer, and presence in being your part of the Rio Vista Center. You are the hungry and you are filled. You are thirsty. You are satisfied. You are poor. You are wealthy. You are naked, clothed, lonely, befriended, unemployed, working, addicted, recovering, homeless, sheltered, needy, giver. You are a friend. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being Rio Vista Center. You belong here. 

Jamaica has been at Rio Vista Center for over 6 months now, please watch what your friendship means to him:

Everyone is welcome at Rio Vista Center no matter the need or the offering, for together we can accomplish more than we ever can alone.

Thank you for partnering! You belong here.


April 2014