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Surprise Squad gives back to Black Canyon City community food pantry

Surprise Squad is sponsored by Valley Toyota Dealers
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 8:35 AM MST
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BLACK CANYON CITY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad recently took a road trip to Black Canyon City to visit a community food pantry. Ric and Andja Rawlings created The Giving Tree of Black Canyon City to help neighbors in need. However, they recently ran into transportation issues that made bringing the donated food to the pantry difficult. When the crew pulled up to their home, Ric was chatting with some visitors in the front yard.

“We’re from Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad,” 3TV’s April Warnecke explained as she walked up to Ric. “Can we talk to you for a moment?” “Sure,” Ric answered. “Talk to me all day long.”

“We’re here to do a little story about the giving tree. We heard that you’re doing some great things up here in Black Canyon City,” said Warnecke. “I don’t know if it’s a great thing,” Ric said modestly.

“Let’s put it this way: We started it when the virus started to help the people in the community. And that’s about the extent of it. But we have people that come from Cottonwood. We have people that come from Camp Verde. We have people that come from Sun City. We have a lot of people that come here. Average 290 a week,” explained Ric. “Started in the front yard over there with a couple of little portable tents, and we just kept going. IT could get bigger, but I don’t want it bigger. It’s a full job.”

“You kind of lost some of your when your transmission went out,” Warnecke noted.

“Big time. We’ll find something. I’m one of those people that don’t sit around and worry about something. If it’s supposed to happen, it’s supposed to happen. If not….” His voice trailed off. “But everybody in town says they want to keep it going. Well, that’s fine. We’ll try. That’s all I can do,” said Ric.

“We’d like to help you out with your food situation,” Warnecke said as she pulled a couple of gift cards out of her pocket.

“In fact, we’re teaming up with Bashas’. Bashas’ heard about what you’re doing, and they’d like to help out. This is two $500 gift cards to Bashas’ so that you can go and get some food to help stock your food bank.”

“We’ll do that,” Ric said with a smile.

“What will you use that money to buy? How will that help?” asked Warnecke.

“Probably paper goods. Toilet paper, paper towels. Toiletries. Shampoo. Stuff that people need. Having this open two years going on three, most of these people come in; they get what they want. We don’t tell them what to take, you take all you need or all you want, and that’s it,” explained Ric.

Warnecke then handed Ric an envelope. “This is courtesy of our Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and Valley Toyota Dealers. We know this won’t replace your transmission, but we’re hoping that it will help you in your efforts since you’re doing such an incredible thing for the community up here. So this is going to be $5,000 towards if you want to use it towards a transmission or a cargo trailer or however that could help you out towards what you’re trying to do up here.”

“Well, thank you,” Ric said.

It was at this point that Ric’s wife Andja came outside to see what was going on.

“I’m April, I’m with Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad, and you just missed a pretty big surprise. We heard about the great work you guys are doing up here in Black Canyon City, so Bashas’ stepped in and donated two $500 gift cards to help with stocking.”

“Wow,” Andja said with a smile. “That’s awesome. Great, thank you, Bashas’.”

“What you guys are doing is so wonderful,” Warnecke said. “We like to help the community,” Andja said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

“Right before you walked in,” Warnecke continued, “We also added $5,000 to help with some kind of trailer or transmission or whatever it is you need with transportation purposes.”

“That’s awesome,” Andja replied. “We really appreciate that.”

“I’m not helping anybody,” Ric said. “These people are helping themselves.”