By William Thompson
Wednesday morning approximately 100 area residents showed up at the Quay County Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall to receive free U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities. Volunteer Delfinio Garcia, one of 17 volunteers on hand, said he expected around 400 people to visit over the course of the day.
“We give out food items once a month and we usually get around 400 people coming here to get food,” Garcia said. “Sometimes we have more food to give than at other times. Today, we are giving one box per family.”
Each box of food given out Wednesday contained two canned goods, a bag of powdered milk, a bag of beans, a bottle of cooking oil and a half dozen or so single-size servings of frozen peaches.
Anita Powell said she was grateful for the food.
“I’m the only person who works in a household of three,” Powell said. “I use the powdered milk to supplement my recipes and the grand-baby can eat the frozen peaches.”
Higinio Salas, a volunteer, also takes advantage of the free food.
“Every little bit helps,” Salas said. “You could go to Dollar General and buy a couple of canned goods for a dollar, but some of these people don’t have that dollar to spend.”
Salas admitted the amount of food given to each family or individual Wednesday was “a little on the light side.”
“They ought to let us give each family two boxes instead of just one,” he said.
Nancy Taylor, director of the Life Saver Food Bank in Clovis, said she acts as a go-between for a large USDA warehouse and the eastern New Mexico regional warehouse in Clovis. She said volunteers take government commodities from the warehouse in Clovis and deliver it to communities throughout eastern New Mexico.
“We divide the food evenly,” Taylor said. “In other words, if I get 4,000 pounds of food for 4,000 families in eastern New Mexico, then each family is going to get one pound of food. In general, each family gets about 10 pounds of USDA food per month”
Taylor said the USDA has surpluses of food to give away at times and other times, less.
“It just depends on what the farmers have produced and how much produce is in surplus,” said Taylor.
According to Garcia, area residents who wish to receive the commodities must furnish identification and answer a few questions about household income on a standard form.
Food distributions for each household occur once a month.
“They will also need something like a bank statement, a paycheck stub or a copy of a utility bill,” he said.
Garcia said the next distribution will occur at 9 a.m. March 2 at the fairgrounds and again March 30. Call the Quay County Manager’s office at 461-2112 for details.