THE RURAL FOOD INITIATIVE
The Rural Food Initiative began in May 2011 to provide emergency food resources by operating mobile food pantries for families in the county’s rural areas, specifically those in or near the county’s 37 colonias. The sites for the 13 original mobile food pantries were selected based primarily upon two factors: the lack of public transportation to and from Las Cruces, and knowledge that those areas truly are food deserts.
Food Deserts are areas where there is little to no access to stores that sell food. They can also be areas where there are stores, often convenient stores, but the food selection is limited, prices can be prohibitively high, and fresh food choices are virtually non-existent.
Each community receives its allotment on a regular day of each month (i.e., first Monday, fourth Thursday). On the scheduled distribution dates, food is delivered directly to each rural site. Casa de Peregrinos staff, along with volunteers, set up registration desks for new and returning clients, accessing the main database at Casa de Peregrinos to assure client eligibility. (Each client is eligible for a food distribution once per month. If a client has received distribution at another one of Casa de Peregrino’s sites within the last 30 days, this information will show up at registration.