By Leslie Radford
La Casa de La Hope reopened their doors last month after shutting their doors for a month to remodel and restructure the board to provide services once again to needy families in the area.
Rev. Sue Mortensen, president of the board and business manager for La Casa, said La Casa is a “ministry supported by area churches, individuals and other agencies.”
“The first week we were open this year, we helped about 55 families in need,” she said.
Mortensen said the best part of her job is “meeting the needs of a lot of people who would not have received those things if we weren’t here.”
Mortensen said there is a huge need for services in this area that La Casa provides. They currently act as a food pantry, clothing bank and offer other temporary assistance to those in need.
“Everything is free to the needy,” she said. “We’re supported by the community. The wonderful people of Tucumcari have really blessed us with their donations. They provide so many necessary things to us.”
Mary Ann Garrett, public relations at La Casa, said there have been many changes to La Casa’s operation since the new year.
New hours have been established. They are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4 p.m.
New guidelines to qualify for assistance have also been revised. They require a current utility bill for proof of residence, a photo i.d. and a statement of income.
Garrett said she appreciates community donations, however, La Casa will no longer be accepting household items such as furniture and appliances. She also asks that donations be made during the hours they are open.
“Please do not leave things on the porch over the weekend,” she said.
Garrett and Mortensen are pleased with the cooperation they have had with locals on aiding those in need.
“The Tucumcari Police Department now handle all of our hotel vouchers,” said Mortensen. “Circle K takes our gas vouchers and (Payless Inn) allows those needing a place to stay the opportunity to stay overnight in one of their rooms.”
La Casa has many activities going on since they have reopened. Every Wednesday they have a Bible study at 2:30. Mortensen said anyone can participate.
Beginning Feb. 16, they will begin Lenten dinners at various community churches. A $5 donation for the meal goes to La Casa. Garrett encourages everyone in the community to attend one of the dinners. The services will be at 11:45 with a free-will offering that will be given to La Casa de La Hope.
The following churches will host the luncheons: February 16, First Christian, Tucumcari; February 23, Immanuel Baptist, Tucumcari; March 2, St. Anne’s Catholic Church, Tucumcari; March 9, First Assembly, Tucumcari.
La Casa is ran strictly by volunteers, according to Mortensen. There are currently about 30 volunteers helping this organization. La Casa serves over 100 people in need weekly.
“It’s so wonderful to see someone who seems so solemn every time they come in here and be able to tease and joke with them and make them smile,” she said. “It warms my heart.”