Funds will expand fresh food storage and mobile distribution in rural areas
SANTA FE – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently awarded $924,895 to New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) to improve the reach of The Emergency Food Assistance Program, known as TEFAP, in remote, rural, tribal, and/or low-income areas. HSD will use funds for efforts such as expanding mobile distribution options, making critical freezing and cooling upgrades to keep foods fresh, and building new partnerships so the program can serve all who need it.
HSD will expand TEFAP Reach and Resiliency – Round one activities currently being carried out in partnership with four regional TEFAP partners (Roadrunner Food Bank, The Food Depot, The Community Pantry, and ECHO Inc.). This work focuses on establishing a sustainable mobile pantry or onsite pantry in specific remote, rural, and tribal communities that do not currently receive TEFAP foods. In round two, project efforts will be expanded to additional underserved areas.
“We’re thrilled to work with our partners, Roadrunner Food Bank, The Food Depot, The Community Pantry, and ECHO Inc. to expand fresh food storage and increase access to healthy food in rural New Mexico,” said Kari Armijo, acting secretary for the New Mexico Human Services Department. “Establishing mobile food pantries will help us end hunger in rural, isolated communities throughout Northern New Mexico by getting healthy food directly to the communities who need it.”
TEFAP supplements the diets of people with low income by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. Through TEFAP, USDA purchases nutritious, high-quality USDA Foods, which are domestically sourced and produced, and makes those foods available to state agencies. States provide the food to local emergency food providers – usually food banks – which distribute the food to local organizations, such as soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public. These local organizations then distribute the foods to eligible recipients for consumption at home or in a public, group setting. All Reach and Resiliency grant projects are carried out in collaboration with TEFAP local partners.
We talk, interpret and smile in all languages. We provide written information to our customers in both English and Spanish and interpretation services are available in 58 languages through our provider, CTS Language Link. For our hearing, and speech impaired customers, we utilize Relay New Mexico, a free 24-hour service that ensures equal communication access via the telephone to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled.
The Human Services Department provides services and benefits to 1,085,290 New Mexicans through several programs including: the Medicaid Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Child Support Program, and several Behavioral Health Services.