St. James Food Pantry sees surge of families in need

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Hundreds of cars crawled through the parking lot at St. James Episcopal Church on an overcast day in Taos on Thursday (March 26) to receive provisions from the organization's food pantry.

Melissa Petty, community outreach coordinator for Northern New Mexico's Food Bank, was helping volunteers package an unusually high number of food boxes for families stocking up amid the growing COVID-19 outbreak in the state.

"The numbers have increased in the last few weeks," Petty said of the families being served throughout the northern part of the state. "I don’t know what the numbers will be today. But, Shared Table, one of the other food pantries in Taos, had two distributions yesterday and their numbers were up 37 percent."

She estimated that St. James Food Pantry would serve at least 500 households by the end of the day, which is equivalent to roughly 1,500 people.

As she spoke, volunteers – many wearing masks – continued to greet families and load their vehicles with boxes packed with onions, cucumbers, potatoes, rice, beans, bread, apples, blueberries, peanut butter and chicken.

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