Residents outraged over commodities

Mike Linn

Residents of south Roosevelt County are upset about a new commodity program, claiming portions of the food distributed last week were rotten and inedible.
“The squash they sent was absolutely ridiculous — it was ruined. It was not edible,” said Mavis Carmichael of Garrison. “And I cooked the turkey because I didn’t want the dog to eat it raw. It was supposed to have been frozen, but it looked like it had been thawed and frozen again. So I was afraid of it, and cooked it and fed it to the dog.”
Nancy Taylor, director of Life Saver Food Bank in Clovis and overseer of the program, said some of the problems may be that food allocations are less than the Human Services Department distributed before Life Saver took over the program in December.
Taylor said Carmichael’s allegations are unfounded.
“They would have to prove that to me because that (turkey) came straight from the freezers,” Taylor said. “That astounds me.”
Buster Keener of Pep distributes the commodities to the Village of Dora. Like Carmichael, he was disappointed.
Keener said he took a bite out of a doughnut distributed with the commodities and it was like brick.
“We don’t need to give people something that’s going to make them sick, or there’s no nutrition to it,” Keener said. “Why do they donate something that ain’t hardly fit for a hog?”
Of the 57 families receiving commodities in Dora, Keener said at least 75 percent are upset with the current program.
Taylor said the recent food allocations have been less for two reasons: There are more residents needing the commodities than the government accounted for; and Taylor delivers once a month, while the HSD delivered once every two months.
Taylor said she has spoken to officials in Albuquerque and there will be more food per family in coming months.
In Portales the complaints haven’t been about the food, but the lack of advertisement of distribution times and dates, according to Mary Jane Simpson, a Community Services Center volunteer who helps distribute commodities.
“The last time we found out on Friday we were going to deliver on Wednesday, but that’s not time to get notice or flyers out or anything,” Simpson said.
Taylor is hoping increased distributions of future commodities will ease tensions, but said she is doing everything in her power to make the program work.
For example, she’s been driving commodities from Clovis to Portales on her own dime, she said.