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Teens from SARRC Prepare, Deliver Meals to Homeless



                                Denise D. Resnik
                                Stephanie Jarnagan


Three Van Buren-based organizations are teaming up for charity! Teens with autism along with their “typical” peers from the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), a Phoenix nonprofit organization dedicated to autism research, education and resources, have teamed up with The RK Group to prepare 320 boxed dinners, which they will deliver to families in need at UMOM New Day Centers, located at 32nd and Van Buren streets in Phoenix. Preparation will take place beginning at 1 p.m. Wed., July 25, with delivery scheduled for 5 p.m. to UMOM.
The RK Group, a full-service catering and event-planning company, opened up its catering kitchen to the teens from SARRC’s Summertime Fun program. The teens have been training and sharpening their culinary skills for the big day. They will bake and decorate cookies, prepare the dinners and deliver the meals to families and other children in need at UMOM New Day Centers, Arizona’s largest homeless shelter for families. 
“Often, individuals with autism are not viewed as being in a position to help others in need,” said Denise D. Resnik, co-founder and board chair of SARRC. “This is an opportunity for these individuals to build their skills, experience the joy of philanthropy and help others in the process.



WHAT:    SARRC teens with autism and their typical peers, in partnership with The RK Group, will prepare and deliver 320 boxed dinners to homeless families at UMOM New Day Centers
WHEN:    Preparation at The RK Group: 1 p.m.
Delivery to UMOM: 5 p.m.
Wed., July 25

WHERE:    The RK Group, 225 N. 32nd Place, Phoenix
UMOM New Day Centers, 3320 E. Van Buren Street, Phoenix

WHY:    To help families in need and give individuals with autism the opportunity to give back to the community.

Interviews are available with:

    Denise Resnik, co-founder and board chairman, SARRC
    Michelle Puglionesi, general manager, The RK Group
    Robin Dunn, chief fund development officer, UMOM New Day Centers  

About The RK Group

The RK Group provides full-service catering and comprehensive event logistics to clients nationwide. The company has more than 60 years of experience and a full complement of in-house suppliers who specialize in business and social catering, floral design, equipment rental, corporate dining, nationwide event design and management, destination management, and more.    

About the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center
Founded in 1997, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) is a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to autism research, education and resources for children and young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and their families. SARRC undertakes self-directed and collaborative research projects, serves as a satellite site for national and international projects, and provides up-to-date information, training and assistance to families and professionals about ASDs. For more information about SARRC, call (602) 340-8717 or visit

About the UMOM New Day Centers
 UMOM New Day Centers, Arizona’s largest homeless shelter for families – provides care, education, emergency and transitional shelter for approximately 250 children and teens per day – the children of more than 10,000 homeless and low-income individuals served each year.

The continuum of services that UMOM provides includes shelter, food, case management, transportation assistance, child care and teen programs, education, housing and job search, relocation assistance, medical care, and after-care support.  More than 90 percent of the families who graduate from UMOM’s emergency and transitional programs move on to and maintain permanent, affordable housing.

All stories, testimonials, and photography shared on SARRC’s website have informed consent.
Material and experiences may not be reshared or reused without express permission.