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For Immediate Release
January 7th, 2019
Yuma, AZ - On Wednesday, January 9th , the Colorado River State Historic Park will be hosting a special meeting of the Assistance League of Yuma, which will be honoring two of their founding guild members.
The Colorado River State Historic Park (CRSHP) and the Assistance League of Yuma (ALY) have a long relationship that stretches back to the organization’s beginnings. In 1966, 56 women came together to form the Yuma Guild of the National Assistance League, becoming only the third guild in Arizona.
Wednesday’s ALY meeting will honor charter members Marinita Phillips and Tina Kubishke. Phillips, who is 94 years old, will be honored for her 53 years of continued service to the organization. Kubishke, also a charter member, took a leave of absence several years ago, but has returned as an active and very involved member.
The Assistance League has served, and continues to serve, as a non-profit, non-political, non- sectarian philanthropic organization whose original motto was “All for service, and service for all.” After its formation, the ALY immediately began fundraising for service projects by hosting teas, dances, auctions, and bridge luncheons.
In 1966, ALY chose two major community service projects to benefit from their fundraising: restoration of the historic Customs House, and Operation School Bell. The old Customs House soon became the headquarters of the ALY, which occupied the building for nearly 20 years until establishing their present location at the ALY Thrift Shop, 1054 S. 4 th Avenue.
The historic Customs House is located on the grounds of the CRSHP, and has had multiple occupants since its construction. Today, it is known as the Quartermaster’s House and Kitchen, which reflects the building’s earliest time period as part of the U.S. Army’s Yuma Quartermaster Depot, which operated from 1865-1883.
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an order dedicating the old Quartermaster’s House and Kitchen to the Customs Service. Between 1903 and 1955, this building became the Yuma Customs House, where customs agents and their families lived.
The building sat empty and neglected for years after the last Customs officer left, and before the ALY moved in. The ALY restored the old home, preserving it for Yuma, until it later became part of the Arizona State Parks system.
In honor of the importance that the ALY played in the preservation and restoration of this historic building, the CRSHP has welcomed the group to the park for their January meeting. Following the meeting, Park Manager Tammy Snook will be leading a tour for guild members, who will visit the site of their original guild location.
Today, the ALY continues to provide essential support to the Yuma community. Operation School Bell, started in the old Customs House, remains the ALY’s premier project. This school year, from August through December, School Bell has clothed 856 children (K-8) from all nine school districts in the Yuma area, including San Pasqual and Sentinel.
Other present-day projects of the ALY include ALBY Bears, which are teddy bears provided to all first responders in the Yuma area, to be given to children-in-crisis. Scholarships are also provided for vocational students at Arizona Western College, and supplies are provided for Yuma’s Safe House.
For more information, please contact Sarah Halligan at (928) 373-5190.