Commodity program to improve

Tony Parra

Officials involved in the commodities situation in Roosevelt County seem optimistic the new changes will be implemented in late October or November.
“We’re hoping to find out the best solution,” Executive Director of the Life Saver Food Bank Nancy Taylor said. “We’ve been working on this change since January. At the latest we hope to have the changes implemented by Jan. 01, 2004.”
Officials in the New Mexico Human Services Department were excited with the new proposal, so much so that they are looking forward to a faster implementation of the changes. The New Mexico Association of Food Banks introduced the new proposal to the Human Services Department in January and it was later accepted.
“We will extend our contracts with the current distributors so that people will continue to receive their commodities,” New Mexico Human Services Department Director of Income Support Division Caty Falls said. “Our goal is to have the changes in place by the end of October or early November.”
One of the changes will be the delivery of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) products to La Casa De Buena Salud. Right now a semi-truck delivers the commodities from Tucumcari to Portales. Once the new proposal is adopted the Life Saver Food Bank will use two bobtail, refrigerated trucks to deliver all of the products to Portales and other towns in Roosevelt County.
Other proposed changes include increasing trips to Portales from bimonthly to once a month. And allowing churches to distribute the commodities.
Taylor met with the other food banks involved in the new proposal on Friday, such as The Salvation Army of Roswell and Roadrunner Food Bank of Albuquerque. Meanwhile, Falls met with United States Department of Agriculture officials in Dallas last week to discuss the new changes to the commodities distributions system.
“They were very receptive to the idea,” Falls said. “We (HSD office) received several calls from people from Portales who were concerned. There was too much misinformation. It’s going to be a lot better than it is now.”
Taylor is also hoping to add produce and bread to the products that are distributed along with TANF products, which include canned juice, pinto bean bags and boxes of rice.
“We (the food bank) have been delivering produce for two years already,” Taylor said. “With the changes we will be able to add produce to the commodities deliveries. As a food bank we have been making deliveries from Milnesand to the Colorado line. It’s going to be wonderful.”