15,000 reasons to smile:

Three area food banks received $5,000 each in food donations last week thanks to Dot Foods’ Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. Shown left to right are Colonel A.J. Walsh, Bullhead City Food For Families, John Supancheck, St. Vincent De Paul president, Sheria Liles, Food For Families executive director, Rocky Vecera, Dot Foods Arizona general manager, Bret Schuh, Salvation Army family services director and Scott Wallen, St. Vincent De Paul warehouse manager.

BULLHEAD CITY — Three local food banks — Food For Families, Salvation Army and Society of St. Vincent de Paul — recently received $5,000 each in food donations thanks to Dot Foods’ 

Neighbor-to-Neighbor program.

“It’s one of those things we didn’t expect and we all are very happy and just overwhelmed by the fact that Dot Foods was able to give us this contribution,” said Scott Wallen, St. Vincent de Paul warehouse manager. “We really appreciate it.”

Dot Foods announced the three recipients Thursday at its distribution center, 2565 Landon Drive, and invited each of the organizations to speak about the work they do to feed the hungry.

“They reached out to us and said we had been picked and that was pretty awesome,” said Sheria Liles, Food For Families executive director. 

Food For Families feeds about 400 families each week, as well as operating two mobile pantries, one in Topock and one in Golden Valley. As a distribution center for St. Mary’s Food Alliance, Food For Families also supports 32 other organizations that feed the hungry.

Each of the food banks chose the items that most fit their needs from Dot Foods’ inventory.

“We filled out a form and before we knew it, our pantry was loaded with $5,000 worth of food,” Wallen said. “The food that we use to put in our food

packages for our clients — I just couldn’t believe it.”

Liles said Food For Families chose items for their emergency boxes; staples like peanut butter and jelly, noodles, breakfast bars, and cereal.

“The donation means we can probably make a week of emergency food boxes alone,” Liles said. “That’s about 400 families.”

Bret Schuh, Salvation Army family services director, read a letter of thanks from the organization to Dot Foods.

“When Dot Foods came to Bullhead City, they publicly made the commitment that they had a goal of giving back to the community and this contribution speaks volumes to that commitment,” Schuh read. “The donation comes at the perfect time of year when temperature rises as does the need in our community and donations in the summer months drop. The Salvation Army is grateful to Dot Foods for remembering our organization in helping people in our local community.”

Dot Foods created its Neighbor-to-Neighbor program in 2010 and this year is donating directly to the communities where its facilities are located.

“There are 11 facilities and a sales office in St. Louis,” said Rocky Vecera, Dot Foods Arizona general manager. “All 12 locations partnered with local food pantries; the target was to give $5,000 worth of food to each location.”

That translates to about $250,000 of donated food for this year’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, Vecera said.

As a food supplier company, donating to local food banks is a natural fit, Vecera said. 

“Robert and Dorothy Tracy are the founders of our company and they were very supportive of local charities,” Vecera said. “They’re from a small town in Illinois and they’ve instilled the importance of charitable contributions to all twelve of their kids. It’s just something near and dear to all our hearts  — we’re part of this community and we want to make sure we’re giving back to this community.”

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