Fire damaged a community center for the homeless in Mesa on the July Fourth holiday, but volunteers and neighbors of the nonprofit stepped in to make sure no one missed their morning meal.
The fire, at 4:30 a.m. Monday, was likely caused by a wiring issue in the security monitoring system, according to dining room supervisor Tammarroh Cox. Mesa fire officials are still investigating the cause but the building will not reopen for at least two months, dining room manager Danielle Ricketts said.
Although it was a holiday, volunteers, community partners and the nearby community shelter Paz de Cristo, stepped in and offered their support by serving a morning meal to the homeless.
It was not the first time Paz de Cristo community center, which is located one block west, offered their support. A few years ago, when the air conditioning went out at St. Vincent de Paul, Paz de Cristo also opened their dining hall earlier so that the homeless would not go hungry, volunteers said.
About 10 to 18 volunteers usually help prepare and serve meals at St. Vincent de Paul but even more stepped in after the fire, according to Mary Seaman, who regularly helps out at the center.
Besides serving a hot meal from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. to the homeless in Mesa, the St. Vincent de Paul center offers medical services, job opportunities and education programs. They serve about 250 people every day, Ricketts said.