Beginning Thursday, a Yuma company will donate 16,000 pounds of meat protein to meet the increased needs of people in the greater Yuma County region as a result of the COVID-19 virus.

Unitechz Communications purchased the meat in support of the Yuma County FFA and 4-H programs and comes from livestock raised by children and teens in the local program.

Stuart Rodriguez, president of Unitechz, bought 60 pigs and 20 lambs from the students after the pandemic forced the live auction to be changed into an online barn sale. Rodriguez was part of hundreds of other donors who participated with the Yuma County Fair Livestock Committee to ensure the hardworking FFA and 4-H students received funding for their efforts in raising their animals for the traditional county fair, the company said in a press release.

Unitechz will host drive-thru pickups in San Luis, Yuma, Somerton and Wellton, with the goal of feeding thousands. The pork will be packaged into 4- to 5-pound roasts and into 2-pound servings of ground pork.

The company will also donate protein to local nonprofits, including Catholic Community Services, Crossroads Mission, Yuma Community Food Bank and Amberly’s Place.

The truckloads of protein will be donated to families starting Thursday and will go through May 8. All locations will have a drive-thru set up so that people can remain in their vehicles as they pick up the donated food. There are no appointments; however, the produce will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

The schedule is as follows:

April 24: San Luis Senior Center parking lot, 790 Juan Sanchez Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.May 1: Yuma Civic Center parking lot, 1440 W. Desert Hills Drive, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 8: Somerton Community Center parking lot, 805 W. Main St. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.May 8: Wellton in the parking lot north of the library, 28790 San Jose Ave., from 4-6 p.m.The company noted that the local mayors of each community helped to coordinate the distribution in their areas.

“It is important for us as a company and for other businesses as well to come together and help out our community during these difficult times,” Rodriguez said. He encouraged other companies who are in the position to help to do so as well. “I highly encourage other businesses who are still operational to join Unitechz in our efforts to help relieve those who are currently being affected by our current crisis,” he added.

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