Arizona’s Heart & Sol: South Tucson woman starts organization to fight hunger

AZ Heart & Sol: Food insecurity in South Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Every week we’re recognizing people who are doing extraordinary things in the community. This week we meet a South Tucson woman who stepped up at the beginning of the pandemic to help families in need, and hasn’t stopped since.

“It started off, I was buying groceries for people I knew in the area and I funded it myself in the beginning. It sparked the idea to do something for the whole community,” said Desiree Guerrero, this week’s Heart & Sol recipient.

Guerrero soon learned the demand was too great to tackle on her own.

“The need was specifically for food items, tampons, pads, baby products,” she said.

She put the word out and the community responded instantly. Melissa Brown-Dominguez and Mel Dominguez, who own Galeria Mitotera in South Tucson, have helped with food drives.

“To really fill the gap for the people in the City of South Tucson,” Brown-Dominguez said.

The UA Garden Kitchen opened its building for Guerrero to store donations in.

“It’s a privilege to know her. She’s an asset to the community and has brought so many of us together,” said Jenn Parlin, the outreach manager for UA Garden Kitchen.

Guerrero and volunteers deliver food boxes to anyone who is in need. People can sign up online or call 520-200-8869 without needing to show documentation or having to qualify to receive groceries.

More than 1,200 people have benefitted from what’s now known as South Tucson Community Outreach.

“Out of all the things that COVID took away, I think it has given us some community feel too,” Parlin said.

This week’s Heart & Sol recipient just keeps giving. We presented Guerrero with a $300 gift card from our sponsor, Casino Del Sol, and she immediately knew where the money would go.

“This is definitely going towards South Tucson Community Outreach,” Guerrero said.

An organization born during the pandemic that will continue filling the void for those in need.

If you have someone you think embodies the “Heart and Sol of Tucson,” please nominate them on our website.

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