Hometown Halo Award

Hometown Halo Award

recognizing and celebrating the dedicated leaders who make a difference in our senior community

January 2024 Award Recipient

Daniel Carrillo

Real Hope

Like so many great ideas, Real Hope, Inc. started out small and local, in Prescott Valley in 2018. Daniel Carrillo, his dad and a friend of theirs wanted to help combat food waste while also helping feed the hungry in the quad cities community.  They already had experience with food distribution through their family’s business, Maya’s Mercado, and had access to trucks and drivers.

Now, as 2023 wraps up, Daniel shares that they have rescued 10 million pounds of food this year alone, food that would otherwise be discarded to the landfill, turning what might have been wasted into a lifeline for those facing hunger.

When we talked with Daniel to let him know his organization had been awarded the January 2024 Hometown Halo award, he was busy routing 30 pallets of potato chips and 3 semi-trailers full of vegetables to various food banks around Arizona.  Each trailer holds about 38,000 pounds, so that’s 114,000 pounds of vegetables being shared with those in need in just one typical day.

Collaborating with a diverse range of organizations, including food and grocery manufacturers, retailers, shippers, packers, and growers throughout Arizona, Real Hope, Inc.’s mission is to reduce food waste and enhance access to nutritious options.  Operating solely with volunteers, every donation directly contributes to covering operational expenses, enabling them to fulfill their mission of reducing food waste and ensuring food security in underserved communities.

Food rescue is a big part of where they get the food they distribute. For example, grocery stores and food manufacturers impose strict cosmetic to the food they sell, which means fresh produce, fruits, and vegetables that don’t meet their specific shape and color criteria get rejected. In the United States alone, a significant portion, ranging from 20% to 40%, of produce was discarded in 2018 by supermarkets solely based on cosmetic standards, despite the fact that much of it was perfectly edible.

Beyond their food rescue efforts, they also support various community events, providing educational materials, hygiene products, pet food, new clothing, and even Christmas toys.  This year, they distributed three semi-trucks filled with toys at Little Dealer Little Prices – Prescott Valley’s annual Christmas event.  “This is our third year of the program,” Daniel shared.  “The first year, we had one trailer, last year we had two and this year is our biggest yet.”

​Real Hope, Inc.’s reach continues to grow beyond the quad cities area.  They deliver to food banks and smaller food pantries in Tucson, Yuma, Nogales, Phoenix, Flagstaff and more. They were recently able to buy a smaller van-type refrigerator truck from donations, allowing them to do smaller runs to locations like senior centers where a truckload of food would be too much to distribute.

As his non-profit has grown, Daniel has to spend more time on the administrative side of the business, connecting with the donors and scheduling the donations, and less time driving a truck and being part of the in-person food distribution events. But whenever they are short of a driver, he still loves to jump in and help. “When we get a call about a need or a food donation, we can activate quickly and respond within an hour or two, not a day or two.” He knows with fresh food, the clock is always ticking.  A truck filled with 38,000 pounds of fresh vegetables can’t wait.  Neither can the kids, families and seniors who rely on these food deliveries. And that’s what keeps Daniel and his team of volunteers going each day.

What is the Hometown Halo Award?

The “Hometown Halo” award recognizes and celebrates the dedicated leaders who make a difference in our senior community. 

The award is granted to one recipient every other month, selected from members of the SRN community who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the senior community

Hometown Halo Criteria

  1. Candidate must have been working in Northern Arizona for over 1 year.
  2. They work with their heart for the benefit of others.
  3. They show in their work and personal lives:  "Kindness in Action".
  4. They are out in our communities promoting taking care of others.
  5. They don't search for the limelight, but SNR wants to acknowledge their hard work. 

Award Recipients