Emergency Food Program
Casa's Rural Initiative
Until recently, Casa de Peregrinos (Casa) carried out food distributions primarily in Las Cruces and only a couple of rural communities. But, through our expansion into rural Doña Ana County—one of the ten poorest in the nation—we’re now reaching out to several colonias and bringing food to many more county residents affected by the tough economic times lingering here.
Begun in July of 2011, the Rural Food initiative now encompasses 12 communities, putting the project within range of 27 of Doña Ana’s 33 rural colonias. These 12 communities include Anthony, Berino, Chaparral, Del Cerro, Doña Ana, Hatch, La Mesa, Mesquite, Organ, Radium Springs, Rincón, and Tortugas.
In all, the initiative has served over 12 hundred families, a number that will only increase given the economic times. Sometime during 2012, we expect Hatch to join this project, adding about 125 more families to the network.
Each of the project’s current locations features a mobile pantry staffed by local volunteers, although Casa provides some administrative support and also handles TEFAP reporting and compliance. [TEFAP, the Emergency Food Assistance Program, is a Federal program helping to supplement the diets of low-income people in need.]
Because of our partnership with Roadrunner Food Bank, these pantries allow us to distribute a larger and more-consistent amount of food to rural families in need. For example, the combination of government TEFAP commodities and other foods gives clients roughly 50 pounds in all: fresh produce; eggs and/or frozen meat; beans, rice and/or pasta and possibly cereal; canned/frozen fruit/juices, veggies, and chili products; breads and other baked goods.
That food allows clients to feed a family of four to six for 10 days or even up to a couple of weeks.
Yet, because of the Roadrunner collaboration, each of these distributions costs Casa no more than a three-dollar transportation fee (plus a fair amount of administrative support). How often can any project help keep the wolf away from the door for three bucks?!
With your own help we can keep fending off that “wolf,” extending a hand to those who stand on the bleaker side of the gap between haves and have-nots, between the relatively secure and the utterly vulnerable. We can continue providing the food that gives life, motivation, and hope—and do so until hunger is driven out of business in Doña Ana County.