I had a question the other day from a health conscious citizen about the types of meals we serve in the soup kitchen and the food we give out in the food pantry.
I think we do a pretty good job, but there is always room for improvement and a lot of the time it depends on what we have on hand or can afford.
We get our food from Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque, rescue it from WalMart, Albertsons, Food Basket, CVS and a few Restaurants around town, we get donations from First American Bank and Freeport McMoRan of fair animals in the fall, we get donations from some of our donation boxes around town, numerous private donations that are dropped off at the Mission food pantry, leftovers from special events and a fair amount of produce that we grow in the Mission garden.
We also had a WNMU intern come in awhile back and rework all of the Mission soup kitchen recipes so they were more nutritious and used items we had regularly donated (and we published a cookbook/storybook which is available on Amazon.com).
Currently anyone who is hungry can get one of our own food boxes each month and if they meet Government guidelines they can also get another TEFAP food box that same month (if they live in our area).
The soup kitchen is open for breakfast Monday through Friday and for lunch Monday through Saturday (we are looking for a group to cook on Sundays if you are interested).
Below is the list of food we try and give out in our boxes, daily fresh food distributions and meal plans for the soup kitchen. If we don't have a certain item on hand, we ask the community at large or certain groups to step up and help us out and if we have the funds available we may purchase it.
We understand that these amounts are not very much and may not be enough to feed a family for even more than a few days, but they are meant more as a stop-gap emergency measure to keep people going until they receive their paychecks, food stamps and we use our soup kitchen for those who are truly in need on a daily basis.
We normally hand out more than 500 food boxes and serve anywhere from 3,500-4,000 meals in our soup kitchen monthly. You can read more about the demographics we serve here.
1 Protein item (1 peanut butter, 2 tuna fish, etc)
1-2 cans of fruit
4 cans of vegetables
1-2 cans beans or legumes
1-2 can tomato or spaghetti sauce
2 packages ramen
1 Loaf bread (from cart in thrift store)
1 recipe for above
1 bag pinto beans
1 bag rice
1 bag sugar
1 bag flour
1 box milk
1 bag salt
1 box spaghetti or noodles
2 desserts or snacks
1 recipe for above
DAIRY, PRODUCE AND MILK
(From daily outside distribution by the walk-in)
2 cans Vienna Sausage
2 Fruit Cups
1 Package crackers, nuts or snacks
1 Bottle water or juice
1 plastic spoon
2 Tuna Fish
2 Frozen Vegetables
2 Frozen Fruit
SOUP KITCHEN BREAKFAST
Fresh Fruit, if available
Bacon or Sausage, if available
SOUP KITCHEN LUNCH AND DINNER
1 Protein item
1 (or more) Vegetables
1 Fruit (if available)
1 Bread or Grain
1 Dessert (No dessert items out until after 10 am)
Most of the time it's pretty well-balanced and enough to keep someone from starving for a short period of time.
Some of the services we offer besides food are:
- A case worker for any needs besides food or clothing (counseling, ID cards, bus passes if available, food stamp applications, hms co-pays for the homeless, hud housing apps, government benefits, referals to other agencies, etc)
- Nurse on call every other Wednesday
- Bible Study and spiritual counseling
- Life and work skills training
- Volunteer opportunities for those who want to give back
- Community Service hours in lieu of fines
- Clothing bank
- Thrift store at dirt-cheap prices
- 1 time household setup of needed items
- Public showers, laundry and bathroom
- Hygiene kits
- Homeless survival kits
- Women and Children's transitional home
- Men's cold weather shelter
- Student internships
- Seniors citizen and school mobile food pantries
We could always use some extra help in the form of volunteers, cash or goods or if you have any ideas on how we can improve our ministry, we'd love to talk to you!
And we are always searching for more ways to encourage, motivate and help those we serve and like to try new and creative ideas to help them get back on their feet.