Home News Local News GHS, volunteers assist feeding community’s homeless

GHS, volunteers assist feeding community’s homeless

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From left, Lilliana Garcia, Jeneva Martinez, Millie Smith, 4, Kelly Smith and Amanda Gattis (back to camera) were among the volunteers who helped sort cans of food Monday for Cooking for Unity at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

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A group of teachers and students at Goddard High School organized a food drive for Cooking for Unity, an organization that cooks once a week for people experiencing homelessness or hunger. The teachers were Yolanda Montano, math, and Chelsea Woodward, German.

Hundreds of canned goods were delivered Monday to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, where they were sorted and stacked on shelves by a group of volunteers.

One of the volunteers was 4-year-old Millie Smith, who was there with her mother Kelly.

All the cans of soup were grouped and stacked together, all the cans of mixed vegetables were grouped and stacked together, and so on.

The meals are prepared at the church on Saturday and delivered throughout the community.

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Jeneva Martinez, who has been a part of Cooking for Unity since its inception two and a half years ago, said the original intent of the organization was to cook meals for homeless youth.

The response wasn’t good, Martinez said, so the organization expanded its mission to prepare meals for anyone in Roswell who is homeless, regardless of age.

At that time, Cooking for Unity was delivering 12 meals a week to homeless individuals living in the riverbed of Berrendo Creek.

It didn’t take long before that number spiked to 80 meals a week.

“The meals are for anyone experiencing hunger,” Martinez said. “We decided to keep the name (Cooking for Unity) because it fit with our vision.”

Martinez said she understands feeding people one meal a week is not going to solve the hunger problem.

However, that once-a-week contact has helped build a rapport with homeless individuals and families in the community, Martinez said.

“Over time we started identifying families experiencing homelessness,” she said. “We can get to know them on a personal level and help them if they need gifts for their children at Christmas or back-to-school supplies.”

To donate or volunteer for Cooking for Unity, cooking4unitynm@gmail.com or visit the Cooking for Unity Facebook page.

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com.