When Pima County voters turned down an $815 million bond request in 2015, it spelled the end to many of the 99 projects in the package. But the defeat also served as a catalyst for the Sahuarita Food Bank, which stood to gain $300,000 in the vote to put toward a new building.

Supporters of the food bank, housed at Good Shepherd United Church of Christ on La Canada Drive, built a plan and put it into action over the past year. On Thursday, they announced a major boost, accepting a $150,000 gift toward the $2.2 million, 10,500-square-foot project.

The gift comes from La Posada, where CEO Lisa Israel said residents back and appreciate what the food bank brings to the community.

“We look for things that are mutually beneficial and that our residents support,” Israel said Wednesday, a day before announcing the gift.

La Posada, annexed last year into the Town of Sahuarita, is no stranger to getting involved and giving. The continuing care retirement community helps provide weekend meals to Continental School students, had in the past pledged $50,000 a year for 10 years to help build a Green Valley Fire District station, and is involved in programs with the Sahuarita Unified School District.

Israel said residents have focused on education, arts, food and the fire district as core areas of support. The gift also is an acknowledgement that some La Posada employees use food bank services, she said.

Penny Pestle, who chairs the Sahuarita Food Bank board, said La Posada “sets a tone for everybody else in the community,” and its involvement is a vote of confidence for the food bank.

The food bank also has received a county $55,000 Community Development Block Grant to put toward the kitchen, and has applied for another. Pestle said they have the backing of the three county supervisors whose jurisdictions include Green Valley and Sahuarita — Sharon Bronson, Ramon Valadez and Steve Christy. The Town of Sahuarita also supports the effort.

That takes the project to about $930,000 in hand, just under the 50 percent mark.

The plan is to take the fund-raising effort public this fall, with an unofficial target date for groundbreaking of July 2020. 

Dan Shearer 520-547-9770


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