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Emergency food program increases output by more than a quarter-million pounds


Casa de Peregrinos (CdP) emergency food program put 3.8 million pounds of food on the tables of hungry people in Las Cruces and surrounding communities in 2019, according to the annual report that CdP released in mid-February.
That’s an increase from 3.5 million pounds in 2018, said CdP Executive Director Lorenzo Alba. Last year’s food provided almost 3.2 million meals and was valued at $6.5 million, he said.
“The need is constant,” Alba said. “Hunger continues to be prevalent in our community and our state. Children and seniors continue to be most vulnerable.”
Alba said donations to CdP are critically important. Personal donations in 2019, which were $1 to $10,000, “exceeded what CdP received from all public agencies combined,” Alba said. “We do not want to see anyone go hungry in our community and we must continue to be that safety net for families in need of food.”
Alba said a $20 donation to CdP will pay for 120 meals and a $100 contribution will pay for 600 meals, which he said is enough to feed a family of five for more than a month.
Here are some statistics from CdP’s 2019 annual report:
• Clients served by CdP have increased from 12,500 in 2014 to 14,000 in 2015, to 15,000 in 2016, to 16,000 in 2017, to 18,200 in 2018 and to 21,090 in 2019.
• CdP distributed 39,710 food baskets in 2019 to 29,886 unduplicated clients, including 904 clients struggling with homelessness (1,578 food baskets), 2,233 clients served through summer programs (3,053 food baskets), 17,953 food-security clients (21,969 food baskets), 4,745 rural clients (7,587 food baskets), 2,107 seniors (3,209 food baskets) and 1,334 student clients (2,314 food baskets).
• CdP rescued more than 1.2 million pounds of food, valued at almost $2 million, that would have been thrown away otherwise. Through CdP’s food-rescue program, retailers donate “perfectly edible food” which has passed its sell-by date. Since 2013, the program has rescued more than 5.4 million pounds of food with a value of $9.8 million.
• CdP’s expenditures were less than $602,000 in 2019, which means it distributed more than six pounds of food for every dollar it raised.
“Today, as I do usually once per week, I volunteered at CdP food pantry,” CdP board member and volunteer Dick Miernyk said in the annual report. “Today, 263 families came through our door to request help with food. Some had already expended their monthly allotment of food stamps; some were homeless; and some were experiencing a financial emergency. And, thanks to the generosity of our community, we were able to send each of those families home with about 80 pounds of food: canned goods and staples, some meat and dairy, produce, bread and pastries. Their gratitude echoes in my ears as I write this.”
Alba said CdP is on its way to a new facility that will triple its available space, thanks to $664,000 in state legislative capital investment program funds.
CdP celebrated its 40th anniversary Aug. 16, 2019, honoring Sister Rose Kidd, who was the first CdP director.
CdP’s office hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and by appointment on Tuesday and Thursday.
To donate to and/or volunteer with CdP, visit its food pantry in the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope, 999 W. Amador Ave., call 575-523-5542, email cdplascruces@gmail.com or visit www.casadeperegrinos.org.