Mustafa neighbor coordinates hot lunches for landfill searchers

Posted: Updated:
Diane Strand is coordinating hot lunches for landfill searchers who are looking for remains of Christine Mustafa. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/Phoenix Police Department) Diane Strand is coordinating hot lunches for landfill searchers who are looking for remains of Christine Mustafa. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/Phoenix Police Department)
Strand never met or knew Mustafa, but felt a strong desire to get involved. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Strand never met or knew Mustafa, but felt a strong desire to get involved. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Sgt. Alan Pfohl with the Phoenix Police department posted photos of the meal on the department’s official Twitter account. (Source: Phoenix Police Department) Sgt. Alan Pfohl with the Phoenix Police department posted photos of the meal on the department’s official Twitter account. (Source: Phoenix Police Department)
Searchers must carefully piece through garbage and pile it into a dump truck to be weighed. (Source: Phoenix Police Department) Searchers must carefully piece through garbage and pile it into a dump truck to be weighed. (Source: Phoenix Police Department)
BUCKEYE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Diane Strand, the neighbor who has been vocal about the Christine Mustafa case, is now coordinating hot lunches for landfill searchers.

Strand never met or knew Mustafa, but felt a strong desire to get involved.

"To even think that these people are digging through thousands and thousands of tons of trash, that’s just… miserable. It’s got to be miserable and I wanted to be able to say thank you," said Strand.

[SPECIAL SECTION: The search for missing Phoenix mom Christine Mustafa]

Strand told 3TV/CBS 5 she came up with the idea to feed searchers at least twice a week, mostly on Tuesdays and Fridays through the beginning of December. Thursday was the first hot meal given to searchers and coordinated by Strand.

Thursday marked day four of the landfill search.

"It comes from my heart. I don’t know what caused me to wake up and caused me to think those folks needed to be thanked also," said Strand.

[READ MORE: Police begin landfill search for missing Phoenix woman]

Sgt. Alan Pfohl with the Phoenix Police department posted photos of the meal on the department’s official Twitter account.

It read “Huge THANK YOU to Linda Morales, Diane Strand and entire community for supporting our searchers! We are very grateful! #FindChristine"

Morales lives north of the Valley, but saw Strand’s online post and wanted to help. She met up with Sgt. Pfohl at a stop along the Interstate 17 Thursday morning to hand off her home-cooked meal of pulled pork sandwiches. She had eight trays of pulled pork which included warming devices.

Since she’s not able to physically search, she felt compelled to do something.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Phoenix police ask for help finding missing Phoenix mother]

Morales used to own Full Belly Deli, which has since closed.

It was located near Mustafa’s neighborhood. She didn’t know the missing mother either but started to feel connected to the case when searchers who looked in the desert by the Mustafa home were stopping by her deli for breaks back in May.

"We were out there as neighbors and friends doing searches and we knew how difficult it was," said Strand.

Sgt. Pfohl said the landfill search work is tedious. Workers are standing knee to shin-deep in garbage with hazmat suits. Searchers must carefully piece through garbage and pile it into a dump truck to be weighed.

[READ MORE: Police arrest boyfriend in missing Phoenix woman case]

So far, he said they've searched through 1,000 tons of trash.

He called it physical and mental work that is slated to last nine weeks.

[WATCH: Phoenix Police Dept. video of landfill search for remains of Christine Mustafa]

“They have to concentrate so hard because she (Mustafa) can be easy to miss,” said Sgt. Pfohl.

The police department is able to provide searchers water and Gatorade, but not food.

Searchers are encouraged to bring their own meals knowing there aren’t any microwaves or places to heat up food on site.

[RELATED: Prosecutors face challenges in case of missing Christine Mustafa]

For people or businesses interested in donating hot meals or non-perishable snacks, please contact Strand at (602) 380-3100.

There’s also more detailed information posted on her Facebook page.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.