Agua Caliente working to get fresh food to CV families

May 28, 2020

Tribe, Sunrise Produce and FIND Food Bank create partnership through federal ‘Farmers to Families Food Box Program’ to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to Coachella Valley families


AGUA CALIENTE INDIAN RESERVATION – The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is proud to partner up 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.


The 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 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.


“As a tribal government, we are eager to step up to become a partner to get fresh food to families throughout Coachella Valley and support our regional agricultural community,” Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said. “Over the next six weeks, we will donate our entire allocation of 2,320 boxes of fruit and vegetables – more than 51,000 pounds of fresh food – to FIND Food Bank so all this fresh food can be shared with their large network of food pantries, homeless shelters and families throughout the Coachella Valley. Sunrise Produce will make sure the food is picked up at regional farms and delivered to FIND Food Bank, who will make sure the nutritious food is shared with community members and families who need it most.”


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.”

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.”


About the Tribe: The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in Palm Springs, California, with 31,500 acres of reservation lands that spread across Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, and into the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains. The Tribe currently owns and operates two 18-hole championship golf courses, the Agua Caliente Casinos in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage. For more information about the Tribe, visit