Many of you readers have faced hard times from death, divorce, desertion, and my personal favorite, deprivation. It is a biggie with me because at 16, I oversaw my sister, 3, and my brother, 9. We had come from very comfortable circumstances; I was never hungry as a child. We had a large family and when we got together the tables groaned with overindulgences of Iowa farm food and home-made desserts.

Then we moved. Our mother got a job when she had only worked from home as a housewife. I could cook the basics, but you can’t cook if you don’t have staples. Our mother was too embarrassed to contact Aid to Dependent Children. She did not want her own family to know she was now a single mother—we were old time Blue Blood Catholics. No one should know. Finally, when there was only cereal in the kitchen, I called my extended family, and within hours we had food again. I never could do enough for the aunts and grandmother who came to our aid. I made sure, if I was around, that everyone ate, and this is still true.

So when I ran into Sammie Hutchison, who is coordinator, with Cindy Hunter, of the East Mountain Food Pantry, I had to write and congratulate them on good work.

After talking with Sammie, I concluded that “Kindness of Heart, Mind and Hand” should be one of their mottos. What I know about kids being hungry is that they cannot learn when they have not eaten. Adults don’t do so well either. Sammie told me first thing to thank the people of the East Mountains, who have kept the Pantry going for these 30+ years. East Mountain Food Pantry was started in 1989 in conjunction with the Tijeras First Baptist Church. They were feeding the needy, but they outgrew the facility. A generous benefactor gave them money and they bought the property where they are now, one mile east of Sedillo and half a mile west of Mountain Valley Road on N.M. 333, also known as Old Route 66.

To be eligible for service you must meet their criteria. You must live in the East Mountains area, that runs from Carnuel to Moriarty and from Golden and Galisteo to Estancia, Torreón, and Escobosa. Those on food stamps are automatically served. The Pantry also contracts for government commodities, so those who are financially strapped can still go home with food. It is much like an honor system where no one is allowed to leave hungry. Staples and grocery style boxes are also available. The Pantry serves between 350 to 400 households a month.

The best news is that they have received a grant from United Way of Central New Mexico. The mission is to search out individuals that do not have transportation for shopping. This grant will allow those in that situation to get food once a month. It will not take care of all their needs, but will provide staples, prepared meals, and some fresh vegetables.

And speaking of fresh veggies, those who have extra in their gardens would be very welcome to share with those who are not as lucky with growing perishables. If you know people with this kind of problem call 505-228-9593. Sammie would appreciate the information of those who need delivery.

The East Mountain Food Pantry has a Board of Directors from many churches and denominations. There is only one paid member, the treasurer, so volunteers do 90% of the work. And what, you may ask, can you donate? On groceries at the store there are Sell by dates and Best Used by dates. The stores are required to remove items after sell by dates. The Best Used by dates are recommendations. Right now, the Pantry could use baking products and canned goods. Their Mission statement is “Defeating Hunger and Defining Hope.” All donations are accepted. Everyone needs help sometimes. God bless the East Mountains Food Pantry. The Roaring Mouse, looking for my checkbook, out.