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Blog - Tempe Community Action Agency

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Alleviating Food Insecurity for Tempe’s Most Vulnerable

When you play at Gila River Hotels & Casinos, you play for good. Did you know that under the Arizona Tribal-State Gaming compacts, 12% of the tribe’s contribution to the state has been invested back into Arizona to improve education, healthcare, conservation and public safety throughout the state? To show you how these tribal gaming revenues directly impact organizations, we are celebrating our partnership with Tempe Community Action Agency this month.

What is Tempe Community Action Agency?

In a city where one in five of its population is living in poverty, support from an organization like Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA) is needed. Tempe Community Action Agency is Tempe’s largest social service agency, serving over 28,000 children and adults each year. That is equivalent to one in seven Tempe residents! They’re committed to improving the quality of life for those struggling with poverty, homelessness or food insecurity with a mission to foster dignity and self-reliance in the economically vulnerable.

Each person’s road to independence and self-sufficiency is different. TCAA offers eight different programs which provide individuals with resources and opportunities to overcome crisis or chronic poverty while reducing reliance on the social services system. These programs focus on emergency and basic food and shelter needs, and people of all ages, races, ethnicities and backgrounds can utilize these services. To give you an idea, newborns to senior citizens benefit from these programs!

Playing for the Hunger Relief Runner Project

Creating opportunity and providing resources for the economically vulnerable can foster a stronger community for years to come. That’s why Gila River Hotels & Casinos is so proud to support TCAA as they impact thousands of lives across the East Valley. The contribution from Gila River Hotels & Casinos and the Gila River Indian Community supported TCAA’s Hunger Relief Runner program. The Hunger Relief Runner is a commercial vehicle that helps increase TCAA’s capacity to pick up and safely transport, store and distribute healthy, perishable and non-perishable food at Tempe’s largest food pantry.

It also led to an expansion of partnerships with Tempe schools, which serve as secondary food box distribution sites. TCAA prepares emergency food boxes that are delivered to participating schools with the vehicle funded by Gila River, the Hunger Relief Runner. Today, all Tempe and Kyrene K-12 schools participate in the program, making emergency food more accessible to students and families in need. This is a huge milestone for TCAA and couldn’t have been achieved without the Hunger Relief Runner. Thanks to our guests at Gila River, more children and families don’t have to worry about where their next meal will come from.

The grant also provided equipment to improve Food Pantry storage and distribution areas, helped fund storage and shade areas in the Escalante Community Garden, and made it possible for older adults to receive nutritious, congregate meals at local senior centers or home-delivered meals for those who are home-bound.

By addressing food insecurity, children, individuals, and families become stronger and healthier. Consequently, their communities also become safer, more productive and cohesive. This is why investing in nutritional health is so important. It strengthens communities for generations to come.

Impact in Action

Thanks to our Gila River guests, 18,549 individuals received emergency food boxes and the Hunger Relief Runner program provided 999,802 meals for Tempe and Scottsdale residents. Additionally, 470 seniors in Tempe and Scottsdale participated in the congregate meal program, 405 received home-delivered meals, and 3,150 students and family members benefited from emergency food boxes at school sites!

Together, we’re making a tremendous difference in food and shelter insecurity in our community. The next time you play at Gila River Hotels & Casinos, know you are playing a small part in positively impacting thousands of lives.

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