Food available at Senior Center for those who need it

Brooke Curley Photo/Gila Valley Central: Bell peppers, potatoes and onions ripe for the picking at the Senior Center for anyone who needs them.

By Brooke Curley

SAFFORD – When it’s summer time and the kids are home, having enough food on the table can be a difficult task. Luckily, Meals-on-Wheels at the Graham County Senior Citizen Center in Safford is willing to share.

Southeastern Arizona Community Unique Services (SEACUS) Program Manager Sharon Valencia told Gila Valley Central that the Meals-on-Wheels program works with several local food banks. SEACUS then donates food to the public whenever food banks bring items the Meals-on-Wheels program can’t use. The only request made by the Senior Center is that individuals take what they need and abstain from being greedy.

Brooke Curley Photo/Gila Valley Central: Sharon Valencia stands beside the food in the Senior Center that is available to the public.

“Once a month we get commodities from the food bank to go to the individuals who receive delivered meals because they cannot go to the food bank, so my drivers deliver them their commodities,” Valencia said. “And when it’s veritable season the food bank always brings me extra produce to give out to whoever wants it. Whoever wants to get some food is also more than welcome to get it and at the same time they’re more than welcome to leave a donation to go to Meals-on-Wheels.”

The food banks bring in large pallets of food for the Meals-on-Wheels program on every fourth Wednesday of the month. Sometimes the sheer quantity is overwhelming, and there is literally no space left in the Senior Center. However, the food that is brought usually has large quantities of vegetables in the summer months. At this point, the Senior Center has boxes of bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions.

“We’re right next door to WIC (Women Infants and Children),” Valencia said. “Sometimes we have bread. We never quite know what we’re going to get but usually there’s a lot. It goes to Meals-on-Wheels first. What we can’t use we put it out here.”

Although Valencia said individuals within the community say that the hardest part of getting the food is to find the Senior Center, Valencia cannot leave the food outside.

“We can’t leave it outside,” Valencia said. “We did one time and we had little strangers coming in and taking buggies from Safeway full of melons and selling them. And if they sell the stuff, we can get in trouble, so we can’t leave anything out.”

Located beside the Women Infants and Children (WIC) office and across from the Graham County Health Department, the Senior Center has a flag out front and it’s address in the window. Anyone in the community may come and take the food leftovers, with only an encouragement of a donation to the Meals-on-Wheels program.

Senior Center:  822 W Main St, Safford, AZ 85546