Charity Spotlight: Legacy of Angels

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Posted By on December 5, 2019

The Pearce Family Foundation makes life easier for families of a child facing a life-threatening disease

The Story

            Six years ago, Meghan Alfonso started the Pearce Family Foundation to carry on her family’s legacy of making a positive impact on the community.

            Her family’s influence on the Valley spans decades. Alfonso’s great-grandfather settled in Arizona in the late 1870s. He was known for his feed and grain business before Coors beer approached him to use his large cold storage unit to help bring their product to market. After Prohibition was lifted in 1933, Alfonso’s great-grandfather became the licensed distributor for Coors beers, which her grandfather then father would take over until the company sold to Crescent Crown Distributors in 2004.

            “I felt it was important to bring back the Pearce name,” Alfonso said. “I’m fifth-generation Arizonan and wanted to leave a legacy behind that my great-grandfather started and then my father took over.”

            The Pearce Family Foundation’s mission is to provide financial assistance at the home to Arizona families with a child suffering from a chronic or life-threatening illness.

            Alfonso, the CEO and founder of PFF, is no stranger to the philanthropic world, having worked for St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation and then Phoenix Children’s Hospital. It was during her time at PCH that she gained an understanding of the toll a child’s illness can have on a family’s life.

            “They would have all the assistance and support in the hospital but then go home and realize their rent wasn’t paid or other everyday bills had been forgotten about,” Alfonso said.

            Outside the hospital, the impact of caring for a seriously ill child can have an overwhelming and devastating effect. Lengthy hospital stays mean parents miss work. And the huge cost for medical testing, doctor visits, surgeries and transportation often leaves families unable to make their mortgage payments or cover their heating bills. The Pearce Family Foundation steps in to alleviate the financial burden of daily life so families can focus on their child’s health.

THE CAUSE

            The Pearce Family Foundation is committed to bridging the gap between hospital and home through their three main initiatives — Angels Around Us of AZ, Angel Pups and Community Angels.

            Angels Around Us provides financial assistance for bills like utilities, rent, mortgage payments, car payments — anything that helps to stabilize a healthy living environment.

            “It’s such a humbling moment when you’re able to call a family and tell them you can pay their rent for two months,” Alfonso said. “They’re just so thankful, and I am glad we can provide these families with that relief.”

            The foundation’s second initiative, Angel Pups, covers a portion of a service dog for a child in need. “It can cost up to $30,000, if not more, for one service dog, between training, certification, vet costs and normal upkeep of owning a pet. Most insurance won’t cover it,” Alfonso said. Angel Pups helps cover the costs of a service dog for children with conditions such as autism or epilepsy.

            In 2017, the foundation introduced its newest initiative, Community Angels. The program works to help families already in the grant program by engaging community members to donate time, services and physical needs for the home such as furniture, repairing storm damage, landscaping and vehicles.

            “We just helped one of our families whose car was hit at urgent care while they were taking their daughter to get checked out. It was a hit and run. We put an ask out to our supporters, and one of our donors covered the damages,” Alfonso said.

The Future

            The foundation has distributed more than $110,000 and provided life-changing assistance to more than 120 Arizona families. “I am grateful to our supporters, and I can see the foundation continuing to grow and help even more families,” Alfonso said.

            Currently, the foundation only focuses on families in Arizona but hopes to expand its reach to help families nationwide. Alfonso also dreams of being able to offer not just financial assistance, but a place for families to go in their time of need.

            “I would love to one day provide affordable living to these families, so they don’t have to worry about being kicked out or moving in the middle of their child’s treatment. I want them to have a safe and clean environment to go home to,” Alfonso said.

            Having a child with a severe or ongoing illness can happen to any family. It can turn the family’s world upside down and impact all aspects of their lives. With an outpouring of support from donors and the community, PFF can help these families get back on their feet.

            “It’s hard to think about, but if your child was to get sick, what do you do?” asked Alfonso. “It’s great that we have people that will be there for you and lift you up. I almost pinch myself that people believe in this mission as much as I do.”

            To learn more, visit pearcefamilyfoundation.com.

Catie Richman

About Catie Richman

Catie Richman is a contributing writer for Frontdoors Media.

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