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Phoenix Nonprofit Arizona Helping Hands Providing Foot Lockers To Foster Kids

A Phoenix-based nonprofit that focuses on helping children in Arizona’s foster care system is working to help them with a basic need.

"One of the recurring themes was insecurity, insecurity of their stuff," said Dan Shufelt, president and CEO of Arizona Helping Hands.

 "You know, they’re living in, as a tween or a teen, they’re living in a dormitory-type environment, where kids come and go every day," said Shufelt. "So, children are worried that somebody’s gonna walk off with their favorite pair of shoes, with a personal belonging that means so much to these children. Maybe it’s a photo, the only photo they have of their biological family."

Shufelt says his group has started providing foot lockers to these foster children.

You’ve probably seen them — they’re old-style military trunks that lock. Shufelt says they cost around $80 each, but that what they provide to the children who get them is invaluable. For example, he got a thank-you note from one child who told him she kept her paystubs in her foot locker.

"They’ve now been moved in a different environment that’s foreign to them. It’s that fear. They want to know that their life can be normal, that they’re provided for and their needs are taken care of," Shufelt said.

Shufelt says Arizona Helping Hands started providing the lockers last year and gave out around 200 of them. He expects to do more than that this year.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.