Mesa woman sees need in her community, stocks food shelf to meet it

Surprise Squad is sponsored by Valley Toyota Dealers.
"There are just things that are happening with this pandemic that's brought a lot of people...
"There are just things that are happening with this pandemic that's brought a lot of people down, and we're trying to get them back up again..."(Arizona's Family)
Updated: Mar. 12, 2021 at 8:51 AM MST
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MESA, AZ (Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad) -- Elaine plays a crucial role in her Mesa neighborhood. Money is tight for many in her community, and Elaine is there to help with everything from providing food to her neighbors to driving them to medical appointments. When the Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad heard about what she’s doing, they decided to visit her.

“We heard that you are an amazing neighbor, so we have come out to do a story on you and to talk to you,” “Good Morning Arizona” anchor Scott Pasmore explained after he knocked on her door. “I hear you do amazing things for this community.”

Elaine’s boyfriend, Jerry, described what makes Elaine so special in the mobile home park where they live. “We got new owners and the price of rent went up, and some people were having a little problem buying food. Elaine started taking people to the food bank, realized how many people needed to go to the food bank, and ended up bringing the food bank back here,” he said. “She’s always available for taking people to medical appointments, to grocery stores. She has an endless amount of energy.”

“You’re a good neighbor when you have good neighbors,” Elaine chimed in. “There are just things that are happening with this pandemic that’s brought a lot of people down, and we’re trying to get them back up again and help them any way we can.”

“So tell me about the food shelf,” Pasmore said.

“It was just something that was needed,” Elaine replied. “It’s open for everybody at the park. Anyone can go in. Say you need four potatoes for dinner, go in and get four potatoes.”

“Why do you do all that?” Pasmore asked.

“Good Midwestern values,” she answered. “My mom and dad were farmers their whole lives. They raised nine kids. We grew up on hard times, and if we can make it easier for people, that’s good.”

“The Surprise Squad is all about helping people, and we want to recognize people in the community that do great things for other people. So, this is for you,” Pasmore said as he handed Elaine a brown paper bag. “I want you to look in that bag and pull everything out and show us what we got.”

Inside was a variety of nonperishable food items. There was also an envelope with the Surprise Squad logo on it.

“Elaine, this is from your Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and your Valley Toyota Dealers,” Pasmore explained as she opened it.

“Oh, my God,” Elaine gasped as she saw what was inside. “They just gave us $2,000. Oh, my God. This is all going back to the food shelf. Unbelievable. Thank you.”

“Your neighbors love you,” Pasmore said.

“I love them, too. This is an amazing community that has some amazing people that live here.”