Mobile pantry opens at the Anza Electric Co-op

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The Hamilton High School Volleyball team gets ready to hand out food at the mobile pantry event at the Anza Electric Cooperative Saturday, Sept. 14. Diane Sieker photo

Anza Electric Cooperative employees, area volunteers, FIND Food Bank personnel and the Hamilton Bobcat Volleyball team handed out free food to residents at the first mobile pantry program at the AEC Saturday, Sept. 14.

Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D., arrived with his wife and daughters that morning to assist volunteers, to talk with recipients and to cheer with the volleyball team.

The program, organized by FIND and the cooperative, enlisted the volunteer help of several local organizations, as well as their own people.

The AEC board of directors approved a donation for the mobile pantry and was matched by CoBank’s Sharing Success matching grant program. Cobank is one of the cooperative’s lenders. The remaining funds were donated by the High Country Conservancy.

All this effort made it possible for the mobile pantry to distribute food to economically challenged Anza residents.

The American Heart Association and other health-oriented groups were on hand to provide educational materials and brochures.

“After this one, we will know what to plan for the next one,” AEC government relations liaison Jennifer Flagg Miller said. The mobile pantry is slated for the second Saturday of every month.

Newly appointed Anza Valley Municipal Advisory Council member and Lake Riverside Estates board treasurer Birdie Kopp and her husband John Kopp also took part in helping to hand out fruits and vegetables.

The food provided consisted of apples, pears, plums, potatoes, onions, red bell peppers and celery. Canned goods, frozen pork patties and grated cheddar cheese were also provided at no cost.

“This would never have happened of it wasn’t for the congressman putting FIND in touch with us during the Cranston Fire,” Miller said.

Keith Grant from Lake Riverside Estates arrived with a truck load of breads and sweets from the food bank on U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. He said he was delighted to share his bounty with the group.

For more information about FIND, visit them at www.findfoodbank.org.

To learn more about the monthly food giveaway event at the Cooperative, call (951) 763-4333 or visit www.anzaelectric.org.

To contact Ruiz, visit his website at https://ruiz.house.gov.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.