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NVC August Newsletter

 | Published on 8/10/2020







Welcome to August! The summer heat rages on, COVID is at our heels, and Northwest Valley Connect moves forward undaunted! My appreciation for our outstanding volunteers continues to grow as I am reminded of our many successful endeavors to date during 2020. We received final certification from the governors office for the Service Enterprise Initiative program, endorsing our robust program to attract and retain volunteers. Efforts to recruit new volunteers continue through ever-broader outreach.


The website became fully operational, making life easier for NVC in so many ways. We applied for and received COVID19 emergency funding from Piper Trust and the federal PPP to keep us going financially. The board committees are all in action, meeting by Zoom and working on their assigned tasks. One example is the Development Committee which is designing virtual fundraising events you will hear more about soon.


On the service delivery side, NVC has pivoted by designing a Food-connect program to order groceries on line for clients and then deliver the orders to the doorstep with no direct contact. We are calling clients to do wellness checks.Some clients require rides for life-saving medical care such as dialysis and chemotherapy. We continue to make a difference one call at a time, one ride at a time.


Through excellent leadership by Kathy and the Leadership team, the pandemic has not stopped us! Thank you for all you do to contribute to the success of NVC.

Stay safe!


Bonnie Boyce-Wilson






Hi All,


If you have volunteered making phone calls, driving clients, working in the office, working on projects or as a board member please remember to log your hours by logging into the website with your volunteer log in and click into the ‘Log Hours & Miles’ tab to fill in the form. Thank You if you have been logging your volunteer work. In about a week we will have our first monthly report from this new system to share.


In March, our eyes were opened to a situation that requires that we see our neighbors from a different prospective. NVC chose to continue the needed service and stepped up to ensure the safe, clean, refined system so desperately needed. The extra work you the drivers do to keep our clients safe from the virus has paid off. We provided 3330 rides to those in need instead of closing our doors. We provided weekly or monthly phone calls to those most isolated and have called the police to do well checks on a few. We provided the means to get essential food for those clients. Thank youto the volunteers who make the regular well check phone calls. Thank you to the office staff who make sure new clients are offered the services they need. Thank you to the Projects volunteers who keep the website running, newsletters coming, grants, reports and more are completed. And Thank you to the drivers who are getting the most frail in the community to their medical appointments and are delivering groceries to them.I do not know when there will be a normal again. But I do know that NVC’s volunteers and staff have done a wonderful job of recognizing what their neighbors need and admirably stepped up to help. I am so proud to work with you all.


Kathy Chandler






CLIENT STORY by Valerie Trapani


Many years ago, when I lived in Pennsylvania my daughter and I were messing around with a Ouija board. I asked where I would finally settle down in my life. The board spelled out Phoenix. I moved to Tempe, Arizona in 2009. Arizona is the ninth state where I have resided. Many people ask where I have enjoyed living the most: Arizona. I have told people you would have to tar and feather me,bind and gag me, place chains and ropes around my body attempting to drag me out by a truck. I would scrape my nails, damage and drag my shoes. Scream stop as loud as possible! I love it here! I do not ever want to leave Arizona! I am proud to tell people that Arizona is my home. There is no place like HOME! God bless and high five to Arizona! A beautiful state with so much to see and do. The Grand Canyon is to the north. One of the 7 Wonders of this World just north of Tuscon.One day I was by my mailbox and saw the NVC bus and wrote down the phone number. I ride to medical appointments. NVC is great. I haven’t had any problems. I like all the drivers. Mary knows me. Dave and I talk recipes. They all have such pleasant personalities. The dispatcher is nice, there is great connection and communication. NVC is very efficient compared to other services.







Dear Awesome NVC Volunteers and Alumni,


The AZ summer marches on and our work continues at NVC.A small but mighty crew of volunteers continue to literally answer the call of our clients.Rides to medical appointments, hair salons and online grocery ordering and delivery are still happening every week.Shout out to Kim Johnson, our wonderful dispatcher, who holds us all together with her astounding organizational skills.


Thank you to those who are keeping the operation going during these challenging times. Online grocery orderers and drivers, Wellness callers, call center operators and drivers, bookkeepers, board members and website builders we appreciate all you are doing.


If you have driven with us previously we ask you to consider driving one day a week. The summer months are tough because so many of our volunteers head to cooler places.



Please consider giving a ride to our appreciative clients. Just call Kim at 623-282-9300 and she’ll get you scheduled.


If you are currently driving clients we thank you for keeping them safe. By following CDC protocols we can provide safe rides while reducing risk.Drivers should always wear a mask and require clients to wear one as well.Clean and disinfect your vehicle before and after each client ride. The safest place for clients is in the back seat.If you feel sick, stay home.If a client says they are not well you should not complete the ride. Did you know that we provide cleaning/PPE goodie bags for drivers?You can pick one up at the office.Please call ahead to let Kim know you are coming.


Be sure to check out our new websitenorthwestvalleyconnect.comand like us on Facebook.Please be safe and stay well.


Libby Christianson

NVC Volunteer Coordinator







RECIPE AND STORY by Ronni Hoover


I had my first bite of Pollo alla Vodka (Vodka Chicken) in 1996 at a little restaurant in Bel Air, MD. I had a lunch date with a close friend from my days at NSA and she suggested the restaurant. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the restaurant, nor can I find it on a map but memories of that lunch remain with me to this day. While perusing the menu, my friend Becky suggested I try the Vodka Chicken! Somewhat surprised, I said, “What? Is that Italian?" Sure enough it is and it was one of the best Italian meals I have ever tasted!

After that meal, I searched and searched but could not find any recipe for Vodka Chicken. I knew the basic ingredients: chicken, pasta, tomato sauce, cream, and vodka but it took several attempts to perfect the sauce.

The most interesting part of this story is that my recipe and I got to appear on television - what a surprise! In 2005, PBS Channel 8, here in Phoenix, asked viewers to send in original recipes for a local show to be aired in a couple of months. I thought about it and mentioned it to my husband and he said, “Go for it, it is a delicious recipe!” I sent in the recipe. Long story short, the recipe was selected to be one of five presented on this show. Not only was it to be presented, but we were to prepare it live, have audience taste tests, and be interviewed. YIKES!

I practiced that recipe repeatedly for the next couple of months. Showtime came, my cooking went smoothly, the dish was well received. Yea! Then came the interview – I was doing OK with the questions until the interviewer asked why there was Vodka in the recipe. I said I had no idea, you certainly can’t taste it, and everyone burst out laughing. My face turned red and I moaned all the way back to Sun City West.

As it turns out there is a reason, and this is what makes the sauce so tasty: “Alcohol is a great solvent for aromatic compounds. It’s also volatile and evaporates easily, so as its particles drift into the air, they carry those aromas with them. As you chew, that translates into more flavors that reach the back of your mouth, creating a heightened sense of complexity.” (Thank you, Fine Cooking Magazine!)

P.S. Further research for this story provided this comment: “Another theory gives the paternity of Penne alla Vodka to a graduate of Columbia University named James Doty.” Tom – anyone you know?



Copy? Momma Ronni's Pollo alla Vodka

PREP TIME: 1 hour SERVES: 4 - 6




1 # penne pasta (cooked to al dente)
4 chicken breast halves (cut into thirds)
2 TBLS olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 14.5 oz can basil, garlic, and oregano
tomato sauce



1 8 oz can plain tomato sauce
¼ c Vodka
1 pt heavy cream
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated



1. Place 1 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and sauté on both sides until golden brown (approximately 3-4 minutes). Set chicken aside but do not cover. (Chicken will finish cooking later.)
2. Put large pot of water on to boil.
3. Place remaining 1 T olive oil in skillet along with garlic and cook until garlic is tender, 1-2 minutes.
4. Add tomato sauces to garlic. Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add Vodka to tomato mixture, stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Add penne to boiling water, cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente.
7. Add cream and red pepper flakes to sauce stirring until well-incorporated. Add partially cooked chicken breasts. Cover and reduce heat to just below simmer, cook for 10 minutes.
8. Place chicken on serving dish. Reserve some sauce to serve over chicken. Toss pasta with remaining sauce.
9. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.







What do you do at Northwest Valley Connect?

I am the dispatcher but have been doing HR, collections and whatever else needs doing right now.

What do you like about Northwest Valley Connect?

People, people, people. I love helping our clients get to where they need to go and talking/listening with them. I love interacting with everyone at the office – it’s the best group of people I’ve ever worked with. Especially when you consider I worked from home for the four plus years before I started to volunteer with NVC and very rarely talked with anyone.

What is a fun fact about you?

I’ve been told I have an infectious laugh/giggle. Don’t get me started, sometimesveryhard to stop.

What advice would you give to other volunteers?


There’s a list:

  1. Listen: Know that our clients are grateful for what we do. Many of them are lonely and love the companionship in the ride or on the phone.
  2. Enjoy! Have a sense of humor. Some clients love to tell a funny story or share one with them. Always great to share a smile.
  3. Don’t burn out. Please let me know if you need a break or a lighter schedule either short or long term. I want to keep you happy too!



Happy Birthday fromall of us at Northwest Valley Connect!!


Meredith Parrhysius


Jennie O'Leary


Vronna D Hoover


Gerard McBride