United Food Bank delivers more than 62,000 pounds of food to White Mountain Apache Tribe

The United Food Bank moved its food distribution to the Mesa Convention Center several weeks ago in an effort to help everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tens of thousands of Valley residents have received essential food boxes, and this week, the nonprofit answered another need on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation.

MORE: Coronavirus in Arizona - Latest case numbers

"About a week ago, the White Mountain Apache Reservation tribal council reached out," said United Food Bank spokesperson Tyson Nansel. "They knew their tribal members were in trouble, there wasn't a lot of food going to that reservation, and they were seeing the effects of COVID-19 as well.

A few days after that call was made, Nansel says eight food bank workers drove two hundred miles from the distribution center to the Hon-Dah Casino on the White Mountain Indian Reservation with two semis and a box truck.

"We brought up more than 62,000 pounds of food to that reservation and held a drive-thru distribution," said Nansel.

One woman at the distibution event said the reservation has been hurting from the impacts of COVID-19.

"Our familes don't have jobs, and a lot of people don't have jobs, but right now we're helping the people who need food - and there are a lot of familes who need food," she said.

"We weren't supposed to start until noon, but our overflow was growing," said spokesperson Nansel. "So we had to begin our distribution at 10:30 and we went up until 2 o'clock."

15 volunteers from Resolution Copper, 30 volunteers from the White Mountain Apache Tribe - including police, firefighters and tribal council members - loaded boxes of food into the trunks.

Thankfully, they did not have to turn people away.

More than 1200 families, or roughly more than 5000 individuals, recieved enough food for 75,000 meals, and if called again, United Food Bank will answer.

"The need is there, so as soon as they reach out, we're ready to go," said Nansel.

The food bank expects to reach 2.2 million pounds of food this month - and they need volunteers.

MORE INFO: https://unitedfoodbank.org/volunteer/