For more than 35 years, Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Program has been serving the poor and hungry in our community. This all stems from the dream of four compassionate people in 1979: to provide shelter, a food-and-clothing bank, and cooperative activities for the homeless and immigrants.
The four dreamers were Manuela Moreno, Rosario Rodriguez, Alphonso de los Santos and Lucy Martinez. Their first office was at the home of Manuela Moreno.
In 1982, Sister Marsha Carrigan, a family counselor for the Diocese of El Paso, was assigned the extra duty of overseeing Casa de Peregrinos operation. She saw a greater need for food and proposed an expansion of the food service program.
That same year, Casa de Peregrinos hired their first paid employee, Isabel Romero, to manage the office and volunteers.
1n 1984, Sister Marsha was replaced by Sister Rose Kidd.
1983 and 1984 saw Casa de Peregrinos moved to Spruce Street, finalize the documents needed for non-profit status and renew its commitment to the food program.
Some say that Sister Rose would go door to door asking the community for donations for the program.
In 2005, Casa de Peregrinos moved to their state of the art facility and flagship pantry in the Community of Hope campus at 999. W. Amador Avenue, Suite F.
The legacy of this organization now rests with us who are involved in this important and historic program of Las Cruces and Dona Ana County. Keeping the poor fed is only the beginning; keeping hope alive is a bigger task.
The founders of this organization set an example for this community because they believed in humanity.
Millions of pounds of food have been distributed to thousands of families in over the years. In just the last three years more than 4 million pounds have been distributed in Las Cruces and Dona Ana County.
The need continues to be pervasive and we are grateful every day to the vision of our founders.
In the immortal words of Blessed Mother Teresa, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one."
Over time, this committee evolved into a board of directors, reaching out to other faiths and organizations for support and volunteers and moving Casa de Peregrinos toward its ultimate identity as an autonomous, nondenominational organization. In August 1987, the organization received its nonprofit status from the IRS, having previously filed Articles of Incorporation in 1983.
By December 2005, Casa de Peregrinos had moved into its present facility on the Community of Hope campus (999 W. Amador, Suite F). There, paid and volunteer staff provide emergency food to those in need, referring applicants to other community resources when they require such assistance.
In the years since its founding, Casa de Peregrinos has provided well over a million food distributions to hungry people. A critical link in the safety chain for many, many people, Casa de Peregrinos will be providing food and advocacy for those in need until hunger goes out of business in Doña Ana County.