The Armer Foundation for Children, founded by Ahwatukee residents Matt and Jennifer Armer in 2019, has made a change they hope will allow them to help even more local families with children struggling with medical conditions. extremes.
They closed the thrift store they opened in November 2020 and now base their operations in their offices.
Closing the thrift store was a matter of priority, Jennifer Armer said.
“It was heartbreaking when we had to turn a few families away because we didn’t have the funds,” she said. “The thrift store was wonderful during COVID, but it took a long time and wasn’t a good return on investment. I realized we needed to look for bigger dollars.
Once she closed the doors of the thrift store and emptied the space of household items, clothes and shoes, Armer refocused her efforts on networking fundraising to help families with children from birth to 17-year-old struggling with life-threatening illnesses or recurring medical needs. .
“I focus my time on finding corporate sponsors and building new partnerships,” she explained. “I introduce us to companies that may not know much about us, or know anything at all about the Armer Children’s Foundation.”
Although she no longer has to sort through donations and take care of other tasks required by the thrift store, Armer said, “I really don’t have any free time.”
“We try to spread awareness of the Armer Foundation and what we do for families who often find themselves
under a mountain of debt while their child struggles with extreme medical conditions,” she explained.
“We want to have a backlog of funds available so we don’t have to turn people away,” Armer said.
A current fundraising opportunity is the Armer Foundation’s inaugural 50/50 raffle which runs through September 30.
Raffle tickets are $5 for three, $10 for 10, or $20 for 50 and are available online at ArmerFoundation.org. The winner of the raffle who will receive 50% of the total ticket sales will be announced on October 3.
Monetary donations to the nonprofit, including the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit, can also be made online with donations to specific Armer Kids.
Since the thrift store closed, Armer has been working on the phone and moving around the community, reaching out to businesses.
A new sponsor on board recently is Chandler-based Achen-Gardner Construction, a heavy civil general contractor serving the Valley and Arizona. The employee-owned company is well known for its generosity to local non-profit organizations.
“Achen-Gardner is happy to do what we can to make a difference in our local communities where we live and work,” said Vice President Kevin Nunez.
PMHDC Southwest Medical Aid (PMSA) of Tucson is a new partner of the Armer Foundation. Also a non-profit, they provide free durable medical equipment and medical supplies to other qualified charities for their customers who might otherwise
Their website explains that the supplies come from excess inventory from hospitals, private practitioners and individuals. They serve other nonprofits primarily in southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.
“I had no idea who Armer Foundation for Kids was until I received their email asking for a partnership,” said Iriz Yazno, executive director of PMSA. “She filled out the partnership agreement online and we learned that we were a good fit. Their mission statement is very close to our mission statement.
The Armer Children’s Foundation’s mission statement is simple, Armer said.
“Our mission is to reduce financial barriers for families so they can care for their children with chronic or life-changing illnesses,” she said. “Our vision is to ensure that no child sees the stress of their family due to a medical condition.”
One of the newest ‘Armer Kids’ helped is Oliver Bashford, who turns 2 on October 16, who was born with a rare genetic condition, dihydropteridine reductase deficiency (DHPR deficiency). The family has been with the Armer Foundation since June.
His mother, Maria Bashford, said it had been “a long and uncertain road for our family and especially for Oliver, but he has heart and is so strong”.
She said she and her husband Vincent are “very grateful” that the Armer Foundation included them in the list of Armer Kids listed on their website.
“They help cover some of the medical bills for all of Oliver’s doctor visits and the equipment he needs – bath chairs, standing feet, AFO boots, etc. It gives us a sigh of relief and we so appreciate the help,” she said.
“The other, even more important thing the Armer Foundation does is help Oliver — and many other kids — be seen,” Bashford said. “Fighting with insurance companies for drug and treatment coverage is an almost daily occurrence, and often these interactions or ‘coverage denial’ letters can feel cold.
“Sometimes it feels like he’s invisible or has slipped through the cracks. Oliver is our son and we love him, but he’s also a person. He deserves to have some dignity; be able to receive the treatments they need to reach their full potential.
Referring to the long list of “Armer Kids” on the Armer Foundation website – ArmerFoundation.org – Bashford said it was “a powerful thing to scroll down the page and see all the Armer kids, fighting against their complex medical conditions, but also being kids.”
“The Armer Children’s Foundation and their donors help ease some of the burden of medical expenses and allow us to simply be parents. To raise children with complex medical conditions and give them the same life, the same experience childhood than children without any medical conditions,” she continued.
Armer is connecting with each of his ‘kids’ families, and the closure of the thrift store – which has prompted many murmurs of disappointment from some regular shoppers – gives him more time to raise funds to help them. , as well as other people in need.
“Because the amount of need versus the amount of funds from sales was so large, I’m focused on getting bigger business dollars and spreading what we do rather than spending an hour selling. a $2 item,” Armer says.
“We’re so grateful for all the amazing donations we’ve received and the buyers we’ve had, but I hope everyone understands the reason for this decision.”