Salvation Army helps Mesa senior community The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Salvation Army helps Mesa senior community

Salvation Army helps Mesa senior community
City News

By Zach Alvira
Tribune Staff Writer

A senior community in Mesa has banded together with The Salvation Army to deliver hot meals to residents unable to venture out of self-quarantine.

Superstition Buttes Mobile Home Park residents have struggled since a stay-at-home order was put into place as part-time residents headed home – mostly in Canada.

“Everybody had to leave, especially the Canadians,” said Karen Mata, a seven-year resident at the park who works as a security guard at the main gate. “I posted on our community page that if anybody had any extra food, to leave it behind.”

Mata began passing out the extra food to residents in need, but ran out in a week.

“I was worried about them, I didn’t know what to do,” Mata said. “I thought about it and called my nephew up to see if The Salvation Army would be interested in helping out the seniors. Sure enough, they said yes.”

Mata’s nephew, Daryl Howard, is a cook for The Salvation Army Mesa Corps Community Center. He reached out to Major Scott Ramsey about helping his aunt and Superstition Buttes.

Ramsey, Howard and others at The Salvation Army quickly sprang into action.

“I think the first time we went out there we only had about 30 meals,” Ramsey said. “There was a need.”

The Salvation Army now delivers as many as 60 meals a day. Each meal comes around noon and when they arrive, community members help Mata distribute them to different homes.

June Rodriguez and her husband, Bob, who moved to the park three years ago from Minnesota, use their golf cart to deliver them.

“We have a golf cart and we are able to do it, so why not?” Rodriguez said. “They are all so grateful and appreciative to have a hot meal come to their home.”

The initiative to help out a community in need is not new to Ramsey even though he’s lived in Arizona less than a year.

He’s been involved with The Salvation Army for nearly 30 years and has helped in similar ways during other disasters across the nation, including after major wildfires and hurricanes.

He knows what it takes to help out a community in need. And when members of that community rally around help out, it makes everything he is doing even more impactful.

“You see the true sense of community in these mobile home parks,” Ramsey said. “Where we who live outside of them may not know our neighbors, they do. That’s what happens during these emergency disasters. People want to get involved. It’s been neat to see.”

Rodriguez said the pandemic has brought Superstition Buttes residents even closer together than they already were before the pandemic struck. Neighbors on other streets she never met have now become some of her best friends.

She’s even had the ability to help with other needs, such as facemasks for those who had trouble obtaining one in order to venture to the grocery store or other public areas.

“It’s neat to be in a place where if you need help, people will help,” Rodriguez said. “People seem to come out of the woodwork to help others. Some of these people are really in need of meals and I’m so glad we are able to do that.”

The ability for them to come together during a crisis is what makes Mata cherish her community.

Not only has she been overcome with emotion at being able to help those in need, but residents have expressed gratitude for the helping hand.

But Mata admits none of that would have been possible if it weren’t for The Salvation Army.

Along with Howard and Ramsey, she applauded the work of Youth Division Director Amanda Mayberry and Assistant Youth Division Director Laura Quintero, who have also spent countless amounts of time helping the community stay healthy during the pandemic.

“They have been with us since day one,” Mata said. “They helped bring this community together.”

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