“One day this summer we had as many as 30 people come in asking for food,” said Bea Laredo, director of Casa de La Hope. “Sometimes we have entire pickup truck loads of donated clothes sitting outside our doors needing to be sorted and put on the racks.”
Laredo said she needs volunteers at the food pantry and clothing bank located on South First Street. Laredo said she is having to put in many extra hours to keep the center functioning. “I don’t want to put a number on the amount of volunteers we can use,” she said. “There is always something to be done. There are always various projects that need to be completed.” Tom Tyler stopped by La Casa de La Hope Friday to volunteer. He said he helps out when he can. “Bea Laredo is such a nice lady, so I try to help her out whenever I can,” said Tyler. “She is a very busy lady here. It makes me feel good to help people.”
Laredo said she needs volunteers to sort and hang clothes, sort and arrange food items and even do laundry.
“Many people drop off clothes that need to be laundered,” she said. “We could use some volunteers that would be willing to wash those clothes.” Laredo said donations have been coming in at a steady rate. “I really want to thank community members who have been coming in donating items,” she said. “That’s one reason we need volunteers, to help sort through all the donations. We always accept financial donations as well. People can donate to La Casa de la Hope and they can also donate money that will help with my living expenses.”
Laredo said more than 200 local residents have visited La Casa de la Hope during the month of June, many of them requesting food and clothing. In addition to offering free supplemental food and clothing to needy individuals, La Casa de La Hope also pays for one-time motel room vouchers for transients needing a good night’s rest after a road-weary day of traveling. In June, 16 individuals were able to obtain motel room vouchers. “The individuals have to go to the Tucumcari Police station to request the motel room voucher,” said Laredo. “La Casa de La Hope has an arrangement with Payless Inn on W. Tucumcari Boulevard. Payless Inn gives us a special rate and we pay the motel a monthly bill.”
Laredo said she has seen many people inside La Casa de la Hope who were in dire straits. “Sometimes people come in and ask for food and they are so hungry that they will eat their allotted food immediately right here inside the building,” she said. “Also I’ve seen elderly grandmothers who take care of their grandchildren. They come in asking for clothes for their grandchildren. It’s hard enough for these elderly women to take care of themselves, let alone their grandchildren.”
Laredo said many people request flour and sugar, dry beans, canned beans and canned meats.
“It would really help us out if residents could donate flour and sugar,” she said, “and often we are giving people only canned vegetables. It would be nice to have more canned meats, like Spam, and canned beans to offer more variety to our regular visitors. A lot of transients come in needing bottled water also.” Laredo said her long-term goal for La Casa de La Hope is to provide a center that will not only offer food and clothing, but a nurturing Christian atmosphere. “I want the center to be a place where visitors encounter Christian values like love and hope,” she said. “Our motto is H-O-P-E, ‘Helping Others Prosper Eternally.’”
To volunteer, call 461-6299.