The New Mexico State University Aggie Cupboard had their monthly Mobile Food Pantry on April 28 at the south west corner of Preciado Park to distribute food to NMSU students, faculty and staff.
Program Specialist for NMSU Social Services and Aggie Cupboard Meg Long said the Mobile Food Pantry is a food distribution service that happens on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Long said Aggie Cupboard collaborates with the Casa De Peregrinos Food Program and the Roadrunner Food Bank.
“We go to Preciado Park and the distribution starts at 12:30. Then, a semi-truck with about 4000 pounds of mostly perishable food is dropped off, the clients register and they go to the distribution,” Long said.
Long explained that anyone interested in registering for the distribution only needs to bring their current NMSU ID and a large container that can carry about 60 pounds worth of food. Registration is from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.
According to Long, they used to finish giving out food by 1:30 p.m., but with the situation with COVID-19, she said they have had to make some changes.
“Procedures have been changed slightly to make sure that the clients and the volunteers are all safe. As a result of that, it’s taking a little bit longer, so I’d say we’ll probably be done maybe around 2:30,” Long said.
The Mobile Food Pantry is put on by volunteers; Long said the volunteers “basically do everything.”
“We set up the tables, we unload the 4000 pounds of food from the truck, we organize the food and then we box the food up to then give it to the clients,” Long said.
Long said there is also a drive thru section because of COVID-19, meaning volunteers guide cars, assist clients with registering and handling their food bags. She said about 30 people signed up to volunteer on April 28.
Behrooz Ahmadlou has volunteered with the Mobile Food Pantry for the past two semesters. He said in an email the reason he volunteers is for his belief in being part of a community.
“The way I see this job made me to volunteer, because I believe we are all part of a community and it really doesn’t matter who is in place of serving others, and I thought if I can fulfill some people’s needs then I shouldn’t hesitate and go for it, and indeed there is more blessing in giving than receiving,” Ahmadlou said.
Teresa Valenzuela, an NMSU employee, has been a volunteer for about a year, and has also donated food. Valenzuela said in an email that she believes having the Mobile Food Pantry is necessary for NMSU.
“With the state of affairs that we are experiencing at this time it is absolutely necessary. Though there may be other food programs within our city/county that might be tapped into, the system that Ms. Long has established at the Aggie Cupboard is well organized, supportive of the clients in all ways and expedient so that people are able to received their necessities with the minimum of wait time,” Valenzuela said.
Long explained that they had 145 clients last month and even with the reduction of people staying on campus, they are still high in numbers for monthly distributions. According to Long, the food donated to them comes from local farmers, supermarkets, grocery stores and people. The items donated range from fresh produce, bread, dairy, meat and pre-made frozen meals.
“We’re really fortunate to be living in a community that is so generous. The entire Aggie Cupboard is based on donations. Whether it’s food donations, financial donations, or volunteers donating their time, we absolutely would not be able to assess the amount of clients without the community,” Long said.
The Aggie Cupboard accepts weekly donations at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays. They distribute food weekly from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays at the Aggie Cupboard building. Those looking to volunteer can use their website to sign up.