An act of kindness during the storm: Gila Valley Polaris hands out food packages to those in need

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Lance Shupe, the owner of Gila Valley Polaris, gives an interview while his crew prepares for the next wave of people set to receive its food bag donation.

By Jon Johnson

THATCHER – Humanity is defined in various ways but to show compassion for those in need and to help others is one of our most endearing qualities. 

On Tuesday morning, Lance Shupe and the crew at Gila Valley Polaris handed out free gift bags of food and supplies to those in need in the Gila Valley in a drive-through setup along College Avenue on the east side of its business. The giveaway was set to help out those who have been affected by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, Governor Doug Ducey issued a “Stay at home” executive order which mandates Arizonans to limit their time away from their residences.  

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Sydnee Shupe readies to hand out a free food bag while other crew members prepare more bags.

The crew worked all week on preparing the gift bags, which included a measured amount of goods designed for a family of four and were portioned out from bulk food purchases the business made from local restaurants and Shane Jones, of Shane’s Place. The bags contained beans, flour, sugar, rice, potatoes, spaghetti noodles, salt, and a roll of toilet paper. 

“It’s just a really heartwarming thing to do because you’re giving to people in need and you can tell that they’re really grateful for it,” Sydnee Shupe said. “It just feels nice to be able to do something for the community and help them the best we can.” 

Photo By Lance Shupe: The line stretched down a block to the north and a couple to the west when the crew opened up for business Tuesday morning.

The event opened for the elderly from 7 – 9 a.m. and soon a line stretching down College Avenue wrapped around all the way west to Reay Lane. Gila Valley Polaris owner Lance Shupe said they served 225 cars with elderly patrons during the timeframe. 

After portioning out the goods into individual bags, crew members then simply handed the bags through a vehicle’s open window as those who lined up for the bags drove by. 

“It was great,” Lance Shupe said. “(There were) a lot of appreciative elderly people (who) were in need and expressed their gratitude. And we were happy to do it.”

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Rhonda Skinner hands a food bag to a recipient.

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