YUMA, Ariz. – “They know they are coming to something where they are going to pick up some school supplies, but they don’t know they are going to walk away with a future. And these kids when they walk away and you see the change, you see that they’re going to give me an education? They’re going to let me go to school?,” says Hands Extended founder Sherry Whitworth.
Helping those less fortunate by supplying food, school uniforms, supplies and tuition, and lifting those we help through education, is what Hands Extended of Yuma is all about.
Whitworth explains, “Hands Extended was created in 2003 and we started out sponsoring children in orphanages. After five years we went to individual families, we found that the need was much more significant.”
Being a church based nonprofit, they work with four different churches in places like San Luis, Mexico, which makes for a busy but well organized operation serving 72 children and their families.
“All the children in the program have to be “churched” this way we have monitoring going on. The children are observed by the pastor’s wife and the pastor wives are ours contact,” Sherry says.
But that’s not all.
“We not only look into their education, we look into their well being. We have children down there who we’ve put in classes. We’ve had teeth worked on, we have medications that we supply to some of the kids so it’s a well based, rounded program,” Sherry adds.
They also help the less fortunate here in Yuma. Last year they opened the Hand Extended Thrift Shop in the Foothills and now are helping local veterans, homeless and underprivileged families in Yuma County.
Sherry took us on a tour of the store and says, “A men department, children’s department, a woman’s department. On the other side over there is a boutique department with designer labels. We are known for our purses. We have purses that come from everywhere, people ship them into us. Designer purses like Gucci and Coach.”
Sherry says she’s thankful to the people of Yuma, and her faith in the effort to help those in need, because it’s all about providing hope in what seems like a hopeless world.
She concludes, “Most of all I thank God, for giving me this desire to help other people. And the people who come here and help, the volunteers, that we have…they’re jewels they all deserve crowns.”
“It’s amazing what happens when you give someone hope,” Sherry says.