Local organizations that provide food and other social services are working to increase food assistance in the area in response to layoffs, business closures and other difficulties related to the coronavirus situation.
The local office of the Salvation Army temporarily has closed its administrative offices on West College Boulevard and its thrift store to the public, so that all employees can work at its food bank at 207 E. Chisum St.
The organization also has changed the food bank hours a bit, so that it will be open from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed from lunch, noon to 1 p.m.
Capt. Nikki Woollin, who runs the local operations with her husband, Jonathan Woollin, said that they anticipate having enough food supplies to meet whatever increased demand might occur here.
“The Salvation Army is treating this essentially like our emergency services, like an emergency or disaster, so we are having to order more (food),” said Capt. Nikki Woollin, who heads the local operations along with her husband, Jonathan Woollin. “We see this as when people will be in most need.”
She said that the organization is also providing “senior commodities” made available through the state. People 65 or older who are low income can be added to the Salvation Army’s commodity list, which means they receive an additional box of specially selected food.
The food bank is not taking food donations at this time, given the need to protect supplies against the spread of the virus, but she said that donations of money are appreciated.
Harvest Ministries is providing curb-side service to distribute food to people, rather than allowing them inside the North Main Street building, said Executive Director and Pastor Mark Green.
He said that the organization and its workers are taking safety precautions, such as using gloves, and maintaining 6 feet of distance between people.
He also said that the organization also has taken steps to ensure an adequate food supply.
“We have also worked with the Roadrunner Food Bank and Feeding America to receive extra trucks during this time,” he said. “We are continuing to do our best to make sure no one goes hungry during this crisis.”
Joel Wood, the pastor of Waymaker Church on South Sunset Avenue, said that the organization plans to continue distributing food it receives from the Roadrunner Food Bank on the fourth Saturday of the month starting around 8 a.m.
Statewide, the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department is coordinating efforts to provide food assistance to senior citizens or people who have disabilities.
After setting up a food hotline (1-800-432-0280) about a week ago, the state received 32,000 requests for groceries or meals.
The state agency’s first food donation site also is set to open Monday in Bernalillo County, with plans to establish more donation sites across the state in coming weeks.