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'Ragu the Plumber' spends his days rescuing food that stores didn't sell for his neighbors in Mesa

Ragu Razo, known as 'Ragu the Plumber', works with The Salvation Army, rescuing food that's still good from stores to feed people and families in Mesa.

MESA, Ariz. — Leaving the Salvation Army Mesa Corps near Mesa and University drives, Ragu Razo drives a white refrigerated truck with red letters on the side with purpose.

“It’s a good fulfilling rewarding job,” Razo said.

If there was ever a truck and ever a job to fit someone, this one fits Razo.

“Everybody knows me as 'Ragu the Plumber,'” Razo said.

He doesn’t work as a plumber anymore. He drives the refrigerated truck, loading it up with food, and bringing it back to the Mesa Corps.

The food he collects five days a week from five different stores on his route in the East Valley is still good, but won’t be sold anymore at stores. It’s part of the Food Rescue Program. So, Razo picks it up so it can feed families in Mesa.

“They go, ‘What do you do it for?’” Razo said. “It makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.”

Razo traded in his Monday through Friday gig for his volunteer hours at the nonprofit five years ago.

“Went in front of the inquiry board and they said, ‘Gee we can’t afford to pay you plumbing wages,’ and  I said, ‘Well, I’m not doing this for the wages, I’m doing this because I want to do God’s work,’” Razo said.

Razo takes his job seriously, logging every pickup and estimating how many pounds he loads up from the stores each day.

Razo "guestimated" that in just four days he picked up, loaded and brought back 11,000 pounds of food.

Major Scott Ramsey, a commanding officer with The Salvation Army Mesa Corps, said that food goes to help fill food boxes, feed senior meals and help those at the heat relief station every day.

The food bank serves about 900 families a month, and the meals for seniors and those needing heat relief serve about 90 meals a day.

It’s Razo, rescuing food that’s not put to waste, but put to help.

“Doing a good noble deed, you're feeding them hungry people,” Razo said.

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