Food bank struggles to meet area needs

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo Mida Cadene, inventory and receiving clerk at the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, prepares canned food to be checked for expiration dates before distribution last week.

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
Mida Cadene, inventory and receiving clerk at the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, prepares canned food to be checked for expiration dates before distribution last week.

By Joshua Lucero

STAFF WRITER

jlucero@cnjonline.com

A rise in the number of hungry families and a lack of donations have contributed to the empty shelves at the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, according to Interim Executive Director Daniel Blea.

Blea said, “It’s a mixture of both. The big thing we need is donations, whether its actual canned or dry goods or even cash to go out and buy it. And then we have had an increase in families in all six counties.”

Blea saida the number of hungry families in the area increases every year.

Blea took over the executive director’s duties after the surprise firing of former executive director MelindaJoy Pattison in June.

Blea said in an interview Tuesday that he expected the number of families at an upcoming Fort Sumner special distribution to double from the 65 they had originally planned for.

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo Mida Cadene, inventory and receiving clerk at the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, prepares canned food to be checked for expiration dates before distribution last week.

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
Mida Cadene, inventory and receiving clerk at the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, prepares canned food to be checked for expiration dates before distribution last week.

According to Board President Allan Isbell, more children have been participating in the food bank’s back pack program, which sends a bag of food home with students from lower income families on Fridays so they have food to eat over the weekend.

“The understanding is if the kids at home need back packs for the weekend, then their families need food also.” said Blea.

Blea said the food bank distributes 650 bags of food a week to 24 schools in Portales and Clovis through the back pack program.

The food bank will begin taking applications for a new executive director in September, but an exact date has not been set, said Isbell.

“We’re playing this by ear, but we know that we want to get everything as much in shape as possible before we have someone new come in.” Isbell said.

Isbell said that in addition to donations, the food bank needs volunteers to help with sorting, packing, and distributions.

Isbell said anyone over 18 wanting to volunteer can go by the food bank’s offices on East Brady Avenue any time between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week.

 

FYI

For information about donating or volunteering call 575-763-6130