Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona purchases former restaurant, working to increase deliveries

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 8:05 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona soon will be able to deliver more meals to the elderly and adults with disabilities after purchasing former El Indio Mexican Food Restaurant on Tucson’s south side. The location will allow volunteers to cook and prepare meals in-house, so they will be able to operate on holidays and weekends for the first time since 1970.

The agency now contracts with about 10 hospitals or health care facilities to cook and prepare meals. Robert Jensen, CEO of Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona, said the building at 3355 S. Sixth Avenue will undergo $300,000 in renovations to transform the space into administrative offices and a new kitchen to feed more people in need.

“It seems like people are in just such hard times, so by us being able to control our own destiny, we can make all the food we need and provide food for people who need it,” Jensen said.

Jensen said the nonprofit received a huge boost in business during the pandemic and expects business to continue rising during the next year. He said the goal is to one day deliver hot meals to Tucson, Sahuarita, Green Valley and communities along the I-19 corridor down to Nogales.

“This (renovation) will truly make us Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona,” Jensen said. “This is a huge step for us.”

Due to COVID-19, the renovations are taking longer than expected. Jensen said he expects the kitchen to be up and running in May.

“Everyone is short-staffed, everything is taking twice as long as it used to before,” Jensen said. “Whereas we could get open in 90 days pre-COVID, now that is just not doable,” Jensen said.

Last year, the nonprofit prepared more than 100,000 meals. Jensen said the new location will let the organization prepare 16,000 meals a day and more than 400,000 meals a year.

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