Since launching our United for Southern Arizona COVID-19 Fund in March, United Way has invested more than $45,000 to support community members in Ajo and its surrounding rural areas. This funding has helped people access healthy food, continue paying rent, and cover utility expenses amid job losses and travel restrictions. In addition to Ajo, assistance has reached people in Why, Lukeville, Gila Bend, and seven districts of the Tohono O'odham Nation: Sells, Hikiwan, San Lucy, Pisinimo, Gu Vo, Gu Achi, Chu Khu Khut.
Reports from our partners in Ajo illustrate how crucial assistance has been to people in these communities. Surveys from Ajo CSA, which operates a community food distribution program, suggest that the majority of their participants were making less than $30,000 even before the pandemic began, and 52% of recipients are aged 65 or older.