Valley Metro donates more than 150K bottles of water to United Food Bank

MESA, Ariz. (FOX 10) - Putting safety first while giving back to the community.

"It's a twofer... you get safety and giving a gift that we'll keep giving for a long time," said Scott Smith, CEO of Valley Metro.

In March, Valley Metro successfully tested the new Gilbert Road light rail extension and instead of normally using sandbags for the test, they used something they could give back to those in need -- over 115,000 bottles of water.

"We have to test our trains to be able to do this to make sure the electricity works and we have to simulate having a completely full train," Smith said. Rather than get a couple of 300 people, we decided to use pallets of water."

Such a large donation couldn't have come at a better time as United Food Bank braces for another busy summer. The 66 tons of water will last the food bank all the way through the three hottest months of the year.

"Arizona summers are brutal and it gets pretty hot!" said Dave Richens, president and CEO of the United Food Bank. "We have some communities, some on our Native American reservations and in other parts of the state that sometimes, they run out of water if the conditions aren't right, so having this supply of water that we can dispatch to communities is a blessing."

Valley Metro says this won't be the last time they give back.

All future railroad tests will be done with bottled water and donated to the food bank.