AGUA CALIENTE INDIAN RESERVATION – The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has partnered with Southern California Sunrise Produce agricultural distributor and FIND Food Bank to ensure fresh produce grown in our region is put to good use during the impacts of the global pandemic.

Agua Caliente Gets Fresh Produce to CV FamiliesThe Agua Caliente Tribe was recently approved as a recipient for food boxes through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations as part of a federal USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to help distribute fresh food and fresh produce during the pandemic with the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

The USDA invested $3 billion to create the Farmers to Families Food Box Program to assist local farmers and distributors to move fresh produce, dairy and meat products from farms and regional and local distributors during this time so the food can be consumed rather than go to waste.  Due to the pandemic, the closure of many restaurants, hotels, schools and other food service entities throughout the nation has significantly impacted the agricultural industry.

The FIND Food Bank was eager to be a partner in the win-win program.

“The importance of strong partnerships among leading organizations in our community is key right now as the economic impact of COVID 19 is so widespread and through so many sectors,” said Debbie Espinosa, President & CEO of FIND Food Bank. “It takes all of us using multiple coordinated efforts and strategies to ensure that there is equitable food distribution to all areas of our Desert Community.  With both FIND and Aqua Caliente understanding the scope and scale of our community similarly, our partnership is strong. I’m thankful that will be able to serve so many people in need together.”


Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe

Sunrise Produce Company is classified as an “Essential” Food Distributor and has adhered to a disaster plan that the company enacted to support the COVID 19 crisis. The company focuses on priority distribution to non-profit organizations, which includes school districts, universities, food banks, health care, churches, and food pantries.

“During this recent National COVID 19 crisis, Sunrise Produce has been hard at work fulfilling the needs of all our valued customers,” said Lisa Marquez, Executive Vice President of Sunrise Produce Company. “Our supply chain has been consistent, and we have been committed to sourcing and meeting produce needs through this challenging time. Producing essential and value added packages for non-profit, school institutions, tribal communities, health and medical facilities has been a regular component of our business. As we were faced with this challenging period, we were able to accommodate the needs of our communities and frontline facilities by continuing to produce ready-to-eat produce care packages with essential nutritious produce.”



Image Sources

  • Food boxes: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
  • Jeff-L.-Grubbe: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
  • Fresh produce: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians