This week a delivery some needy families in the Tucumcari area hadn't seen in months arrived.
In addition to canned goods and packages of beans, the commodities delivery included 795 one-dozen egg crates, 810 pounds of onions and hundreds of bananas.
And on Tuesday and Christmas eve, a group of volunteers assembled and handed out boxes of commodity groceries, helping feed about 400 families in Quay County.
The food coming to Tucumcari is part of a USDA emergency food assistance program.
"This is the most we've gotten in a long time," said volunteer Mickey Haun.
"It makes a difference," said Louis Abeyta, 86, who was walking with the help of a cane on Christmas Eve to pick up his allotted groceries.
Abeyta said his wife is ill and the box of groceries that was being carried to his car by a volunteer helps out.
Most of the commodity recipients are elderly, said Delfinio Garcia, who has been the volunteer coordinator of the commodities distribution in Tucumcari for more than four years.
It takes at least a dozen volunteers to unload and divvy up the commodities that arrive from the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico in Clovis for distribution in Tucumcari at the Travis Nelson Building at the Quay County Fairgrounds.
There's also a core of volunteers who make deliveries of food to persons who are homebound, said Dee Pacheco, who has been working with the program for about 25 years as a volunteer.
This month, because of Christmas, the boxes were especially bountiful.
Garcia estimated the value of the each box of food distributed to a household was between $20 and $50.
"If they have three or four kids, it may be good for two or three days," said Garcia. "If it's an elderly person, because they eat less, it may be for a week."
The free food helps offset a family's grocery bills, or gives a family an opportunity to budget for gas or utilities, Pacheco said.
Distribution of the food is based on income. For example, a single person cannot earn more than $370 a week or $1,604 a month. For a household of five, it's $883 per week or $3,824 a month.
"There's nobody in Tucumcari that makes that kind of money ($883 a week). There are no jobs," Garcia said. "It's even worse, if they're a waitress."
"So it helps them some," Garcia said.
The volunteers are thankful they can contribute.
"I do it because it helps the elderly and the handicapped," said Connie Montano, who is in her seventh year as a volunteer.
Since the early 1970s, Jane Burreras said she's been coming nearly every month to help put together the food packages. "I like helping people," she said.
The volunteers also say its a job that they'd like to do more often. But the delivery of commodities to Quay County has been sporadic, Garcia said.
The last time there was delivery was in October and before that it was August.
Because there are not enough commodities to go around, Garcia said deliveries are rotated from different cities.
However, Garcia said he hopes to seek out the help of city and county officials to see if the deliveries to Tucumcari can be returned to a monthly schedule.
Although the deliveries are not as frequent, Garcia said, "People in the county should be appreciative ... Thankful they get a little help."