In the mid-1960’s, the Maricopa County Health Department was operating out-patient clinics out of various locations in Chandler such as the city court, the police department, the National Guard Armory and the Chandler Women’s Club. Obviously, there was a need to have a more permanent home for the clinics in order to better serve people needing medical care. So, under the leadership of the Rev. Leroy Albo, pastor of the Spanish Nazarene Church and Inez Noel, president of the Chandler Women’s Club, a group of concerned citizens, including the mayor and other city officials, came together to secure a permanent site for the clinic.
Our work makes a difference
Arizona children live in poverty.
Arizonans live at or below the poverty level.
Working age women live in poverty.
Kids in poverty suffer setbacks in school and life.
Our Founding Story
The new clinic comprised of a small waiting room, three exam rooms and storage space for supplies, focused primarily on pre and post natal and well-baby care for women and children without health care coverage. Other medical services available were diabetes and cancer screenings, another diagnostic testing, family planning and immunizations.
This was the beginning of the Chandler Christian Community Center (CCCC) now know as AZCEND, which was dedicated on November 6, 1966, with November 7th as the official opening date. Some of the dignitaries attending the dedication included Governor Sam Goddard, Mayor George Nader, several county officials, and the District Superintendent of the Spanish Nazarene Church.
AZCEND, formerly known as Chandler Christian Community Center (CCCC), was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in January 1968. Shortly afterward, the Center sponsored Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Troops, organized a sewing circle and under the direction of Barbara Rosson from Chandler Presbyterian Church a 4H cooking class under the auspices of the University of Arizona Agricultural Extension program. Other programs and activities were added including a small food and clothing bank. The building was also used by a Salvation Army Distribution Center and the Red Cross.
Anna Wilson, as manager of the food bank, relied on $10 coupons provided by the CAP office, plus donations from the community. Every week they picked up groceries from the local Bashas’ Grocery Store and beans and flour from the Tempe Flour Mill.
Thus the foundation of AZCEND was laid. While much growth has taken place since our founding, we continue to stand on the shoulders of these giants who founded CCCC 50 years ago.
In November of 1966, a consortium of Chandler churches unified with the common cause of alleviating poverty in their community. Chandler Christian Community Center (CCCC) was born out of a passion “to broaden physical, mental and spiritual horizons, to strengthen family ties; to cultivate goodwill and brotherhood among all races, creeds, and nationalities.”
50 years of legacy
For the past 50 years, AZCEND has been changing lives by nourishing minds and bodies. Since rapidly expanding services beyond the Food Bank to include Community Action Program, Family Resource Center, Chandler and Gilbert Senior Centers, and I-HELP (Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program), AZCEND continues to change more lives in the Southeast Valley.
As we enter AZCEND’s 50th year, we would like to thank everyone for their generous contributions and inspiring volunteerism. Your contributions are a vital part of AZCEND’s story, both in the past and in the future.
Here are a few highlights from AZCEND’50-year history:
- On November 6, 1966 AZCEND was dedicated by Governor Sam Goddard, Mayor George Nader and other community members.
- In January of 1968, AZCEND was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
- In 1969, volunteers picked up groceries from the local Bashas’ grocery store along with beans and flour from the Tempe Flour Mill.
- In 1976 the California Street Baptist Church donated its property at 345 S. California Street, and the AZCEND moved to our current location. Mrs. Al Barnes, owner of the Chandler Arizonan, a local newspaper in circulation at the time, provided funds for the purchase of the building.
- In 1990, AZCEND became a United Way partner organization.
- In 1996 AZCEND obtained its first walk in refrigerator/freezer. That year, 17,000 persons received food boxes.
In 2009, current CEO Trinity Donovan began her tenure and led an expansion of AZCEND by changing lives through nourishing minds and bodies to create a connected, thriving community. AZCEND programs now include CAP (Community Assistance Program), the Family Resource Center, I-HELP (Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program), and AZCEND oversees the meal (Senior Nutrition) program at the Chandler Senior Center and the Senior Nutrition Program & Activities at the Gilbert Senior Center, (City of Chandler’s Parks and Recreation provide the activities at the Chandler Senior Center).