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Arizona Center for Germanic Cultures

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Phoenix Old World Oktoberfest to Support Grace in the City’s Summer Heat Respite Program for the Homeless

As part of its mission to be a good community partner by supporting worthwhile charitable initiatives in the local community, the Arizona Center for Germanic Cultures has selected Grace In The City's Summer Heat Respite program for the homeless to receive proceeds from food sales at its 7th Annual Phoenix Old World Oktoberfest, Oct 5 & 6. GLC's Heat Respite program served a record number of meals this summer to homeless refuge seekers in Phoenix.

Phoenix, AZ, September 26, 2012 --( Arizona Center for Germanic Cultures announces half of all proceeds from food sales at their 7th Annual Phoenix Old World Oktoberfest, Oct. 5 and 6 at Margaret T Hance Park (200 E Moreland, Phoenix 85004) will benefit Grace in the City’s Summer Heat Respite program for the homeless (

According to Grace Outreach Ministries Program Director Solveig Muus, Grace Lutheran was one of the first organizations in Phoenix to open its doors to the homeless in July 2005 when the heat escalated above 110° for 14 days and 21 people (14 of them homeless) died of exposure in one week. “With the help of our generous donors and volunteers, we continue that tradition today as a City of Phoenix Heat Respite Station,” says Muus. “We served more than 8,000 meals this summer – a big job for our volunteers and our small congregation – but very rewarding.”

Heat Respite program volunteers serve guests a meal, snacks and water, offer clothing and hygiene supplies, show movies, and provide games and activities.

"Besides getting people out of the heat, it gives them a sense of safety. [Elsewhere] most people are shuffled around in massive lines. Here, you get respect. The church cares for you," says Heat Respite guest and volunteer Gary Oden, 60.

"Heat Respite is a safe haven in the summer, sort of a rescue for some people in dangerous situations, and a place to disseminate information," says volunteer Reid, 63. “Grace's Heat Respite program has become a beacon.”

In Summer 2012:
* The program ran for 11 weeks, from mid-June through August, 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday - Thursday, and 10 am to 6 pm Mondays and Fridays
* Costs were approximately $13,000, including air conditioning expenses of about $3,000.
* 8,269 meals were served - up from 5,361 last year
* 6,357 people were served - average of 112 per day, high of 198 in a single day, up from the high of 179 and average of 107 last year
* 2,367 cases of water donated, up from 987 cases last year
* 8,000 snacks donated, up from 2,398 last year
* 4,750 lunches donated, up from 3,618 last year
2,244 volunteer hours, up from 1,200 last year

“These are astounding numbers,” says Muus. “We simply could not serve our community this way without the awesome contributions of food, water, clothing, cash, time, talents and love from our donors and volunteers. We thank them for their generosity.”

MidFirst Bank is providing a coin truck at Phoenix Oktoberfest for collecting Heat Respite donations, and will match donations up to $1,000. In addition to cash donations, Grace needs :

* Snacks – Wrapped, pre-packaged snacks such as granola bars, cheese or peanut butter crackers, chips or dried fruit and nuts
* Bottled Water
* Professional Services – Doctors, dentists, podiatrists, barbers can donate time and offer referrals.
* Programming – Conducting classes, medical screening, projects, or other ideas are welcome
* Phone Cards – distributed via lottery, so guests can contact relatives
* Volunteers – to help prepare food, serve, clean up, provide security and guest hospitality.

Donors and volunteers can contact Grace In the City’s Heat Respite program at 602-258-3787 or, For more information about Phoenix Oktoberfest, visit or call (480) 947 PHXO (7490).
Contact Information
Arizona Center for Germanic Cultures
Colleen O'Donnell Pierce

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