Sunday, April 13, 2014

Food Distribution Center Opens in Truchas, New Mexico

(Photo courtesy of Mary Singleton)
If you saw the movie Milagro Beanfield War, then you're familiar with the scenery around the rural mountain community of Truchas in northern New Mexico. Robert Redord filmed this popular movie in this small community nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in 1988..

The setting is also reminiscent of Collbran, Co., one of the locations where the the documentary A Place at the Table was filmed.  And there are parallels between Collbran and Truchas: both are communities with small populations that are experiencing hunger. Collbran has about 790 residents, while the population of Truchas is 560 (according to the 2010 census). There is another similarty: both communities are located about an hour away from the nearest city. Collbran is situated about 40 miles from Grand Junction, while Truchas is about 37 miles from Santa Fe. Despite the relatively small distances, the two communities are isolated enough that residents are not able to access services in the nearby big city. (I made an earlier comparison between Mesa County--where Collbran is located--and Grant County in southwest New Mexico).

First food distribution in Truchas on April 9 attracted 65 customers  (Photo courtesy of Mary Sngleton)
Food distribution twice a month  
You know the story in A Place at the Table.  Pastor Bob Wilson of the Plateau Valley Assembly of Good took frequent trips to Grand Junction to obtain food from the local food bank to supply a food pantry in the city. 

In the case of Truchas, the Truchas Services Center worked with The Food Depot food bank in Santa Fe to create a food distribution program in Truchas.  Mary Singleton, who serves as treasurer of  the board of the Truchas Services Center, said the organization had worked tirelessly over many weeks and months to open the distribution center. "This has been a long time dream of mine - after many years of writing letters we will actually get to provide food directly to our community!," said Ms. Singleton, a Bread for the World member who regularly organizes Offerings of Letters at Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church in Truchas. "It's hard to put in words what this means to me personally."  
On Wednesday, April 9, members of the community received the first food boxes. "We had about 65 customers which is huge for our small community," said Ms. Singleton,  "Working with the Food Depot in Santa Fe has been the key to making this happen.  They helped us put together a plan for food delivery and filled our order with so much more than we expected.  All the food was distributed in less than an hour."

Since 1974, the Truchas Services Center  has provided a variety of services to the community, including a  library, a preschool program, a community center and  a summer arts program. Add to those a twice-monthly food distribution program for residents of  Truchas and nearby communities (like Ojo Sarco, Cordova and Chimayo) 

And Smith Memorial Presbyterian Program offers the community the opportunity for anti-hunger advocacy. Last  year, Mary Singleton organized a few members of her church to participate in the 2013 Offering of Letters campaign, which centered on A Place at the Table and the lack of access to nutritious food for many residents of our country.

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