Earlier this year, the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System celebrated Public Service Recognition Week. As Public Service Employees, they wanted to do something for others less fortunate.

Food drive volunteers unload donations.

They held a food drive for 80 Veteran families of Hopi Tribe and Tewa people.

Voluntary Services Manager Patricia Aljets took the lead and contacted local Veteran Service Organizations and community partners.

American Legion members collected food and cleaning product donations in their neighborhoods. VA employees stood in line at Costco and other stores to purchase items for Veterans. Local companies and stores donated many other critical items.

Next came the challenge of sorting, repackaging and boxing up nearly 4,500 pounds of food and goods and several pallets of bottled water. At the end of the day, volunteers gave each of the 80 families five boxes of food, cases of water, and gift cards to use at local stores in their community.

400-mile round trip to deliver donations

Then a special convoy began the 400-mile round trip drive to deliver the donations.

Volunteers sort boxes of food donations.

Volunteers from the Hopi Tribe and Hopi Veteran Service Organizations accepted the donations and prepared for their distribution drive-thru. That was all put together in under two hours.

The team then had the distinct honor of being welcomed by tribal elders and elected officials.

The Northern Arizona VA Health Care System team is profoundly grateful for the donations and support from the community, and is proud to be a part of such a great event.

Mary Dillinger is a public affairs officer for the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System. Jason Carter is a Northern Arizona VA photographer.

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