APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Myra Garcia keeps a lot of food stocked on shelves, but it's not always enough to feed all the East Valley families struggling to get by.
"You can have some homeless individuals come through. You can have a family of 8 to 10. Or sometimes, you can get two people that never had to be in circumstances like this and find themselves needing food," said Garcia.
Garcia is Executive Director of the Superstition Community Food Bank in Apache Junction, which right now helps about 800 people a week. It's number that keeps climbing higher, with the current health crisis creating more hardships for more families.
The food bank is only open to the public 4 days a week, but Garcia can often be found here on nights and week-ends, rounding up donations and setting up deliveries to folks who can't pick up items themselves. "I was lucky enough to have had a grandmother as my mentor and she always told me if you are able to get an education, and are able to help others, that's your job," said Garcia. "I'm pleased that I'm able to come here every day and help struggling families get the food they need."
Food bank board member Pat Palermini has seen how passionate Garcia is about making sure no one goes hungry, so she reached out, asking CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to the food bank director who is saving lives one can at a time.
"She cares about the people," said Palermini. "It's not only about families she cares about, it's the kids and the kids that come through."
A CBS 5 news crew went out to the food bank recently to surprise Garcia and give her a $500 gift card.
"We reached out to Channel 5 Pay it Forward and you got it," said Palermini.
"They walk up and drive up, and whatever they need you can make it happen," said Palermini. "If we are not able to, we know we can come to you and you will give us resources."
"I know only too well how many hours you put in; you are on call 24-7," said Palermini. "You have so many more plans in line, so we want to give this to you."
"It's a humbling experience, every day, to see people struggle. And to know I'm a little cog, being able to help people, makes a world of difference to me," said Garcia.