Water donation from light rail testing delivered to United Food Bank

A forklift operator placing 55 pallets of water in the United Food Bank warehouse. (Submitted photo)

Thanks to a creative way to test passenger weight on the new Gilbert Road light rail extension, Valley Metro, along with project contractors Stacy and Witbeck Sundt, donated tons of water to United Food Bank.

“This is an incredible gesture by the contractors and Mesa is absolutely thrilled that they chose to use bottled water instead of sand for their weight test,” Mesa Mayor John Giles said in a release. “It’s a great idea that shows they think about how they can help the community they are working in.”

The donation of 55 pallets, or 115,500 bottles of water weighing approximately 66 tons, will be distributed to unsheltered and homeless people during the extreme heat of the summer, according to the release.

“With this donation of water, we’ve accomplished two very important things: safety testing of the new Gilbert Road Extension and helping United Food Bank support this summer’s hydration needs for people in eastern Arizona,” Scott Smith, Valley Metro CEO, said in the release.

Stacy and Witbeck Sundt, construction contractor, is building the 1.9-mile light rail extension and used water instead of sandbags for safety testing. All 115,500 bottles of water were loaded and stacked by hand on four light rail trains.  After testing was complete, Food City hauled the water in three semi-trailer truckloads from Valley Metro’s Operations and Maintenance Center to United Food Bank’s warehouse in Mesa, according to the release.

“This water could not have arrived at a better time,” Dave Richins, United Food Bank president and CEO, said in the release. “As the heat starts to increase so will the need of purified drinking water in our nearly 20,000-square-mile service area.”

United Food Bank distributes water to numerous nonprofit organizations throughout the Valley and eastern Arizona including Paz de Cristo, Mesa United Way and A New Leaf – East Valley Men’s Shelter.

The Gilbert Road Extension will extend light rail on Main Street from Mesa Drive to Gilbert Road. The Gilbert Road eExtension officially opens Saturday, May 18, with a public ceremony from 9 a.m. to noon at the new park-and-ride on the southwest corner of Main Street and Gilbert Road. Go to valleymetro.org.

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