Food Bank to open Giffords Family Assistance Center
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Food Bank to open Giffords Family Assistance Center

The Gabrielle Giffords Family Assistance Center at Tucson's Community Food Bank will open in late September, the organization's CEO announced Thursday morning.

The center will help about 10,000 families in need and is designed to help eliminate hunger in Southern Arizona, Bill Carnegie said at a press conference.

The center will be located at the Community Food Bank, 3003 S. Country Club Rd., and will consolidate all services provided to families in need in one location, including health providers who can educate people about issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure, Carnegie said.

The cost of the center is estimated at $153,000, the Community Food Bank said in a press release.

“Responses have been terrific”, said the U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s chief of staff, Pia Carusone. The donations website had to be changed to accept foreign contributions because of the influx of contributors, she said.

Donations totaling $164,171.01 have been made from 48 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Germany, Australia and Mexico.

It wasn’t hard to decide that the money donated after the Jan. 8 mass shooting should support of the Food Bank, one of Giffords' favorite organizations, Carusone said.

A commemorative book has been produced with comments of those who donated, Carnegie said. There are only six copies of this book, which are not available to the public.

Those receiving copies are Giffords and husband Mark Kelly, Giffords' parents, the Food Bank, Giffords's Tucson and D.C. offices, and one which will be donated to Tucson's main library, Carnegie said.

Giffords does not know about the center, Carnegie said. “Hopefully it’s a pleasant surprise.”

The remodeling will start in June, and the opening will be in late September. “People can contribute as we go along”, Carnegie said.

Hopefully Giffords will be there to cut the ribbon, he added.

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Ryan Kelly/TucsonSentinel.com

Food Bank CEO Bill Carnegie and Giffords' chief of staff Pia Carusone announced that the organization will build the Gabielle Giffords Family Assistance Center.