September is Hunger Action Month, and we at Adelante are doing our part to alleviate hunger across New Mexico in a variety of ways, and providing volunteer opportunities for people with disabilities along the way.

Adelante developed Desert Harvest Food Rescue in 2001 to help lessen food waste and be a resource for other nonprofits. Through Desert Harvest, Adelante collects more than 127,000 pounds of surplus food each month from restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, schools, and caterers, then delivers it to food pantries, shelters, and other nonprofit organizations that feed people in need.

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Desert Harvest collections are handled by community volunteers, including people with disabilities supported by Adelante staff members. Desert Harvest provides people in Adelante’s day programs with community involvement, and opportunities to work on goals like improving communication skills, motor skills, and even math.

Adelante also supports people with disabilities who volunteer for Meals on Wheels, and has held food drives for several organizations through the Kiwanis Aktion Club hosted at Adelante.

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For seniors, Adelante operates the Senior Meals program in Doña Ana County for the Area Agencies on Aging. Seniors can dine free of charge, or at very low cost, at six senior centers throughout the rural areas surrounding Las Cruces. The sites Adelante operates are in Mesilla, Doña Ana, Radium Springs, Hatch, Anthony, and Chaparral. People who qualify also have the option of home-delivered meals.

Adelante also has a management agreement to support Storehouse New Mexico, the state’s largest food pantry. When the food pantry nearly closed four years ago, Adelante was asked to step in and use our infrastructure and management skills to help the Storehouse continue in its mission. It was important to save the Storehouse because nearly 50,000 people a year count on food from that food pantry. Adelante stepped in to provide fundraising, marketing, IT, and other administrative supports so the team at the Storehouse could focus on simply feeding people. They remain their own corporation, but that management agreement remains in place today, and the Storehouse still has hundreds of people – from infants to seniors – come through the door for food every day they are in operation.

Adelante has strived to be a community resource above and beyond our mission, supporting our community wherever the organization is able. Because hunger is such a persistent and serious problem in New Mexico, we are glad to lend our skills to fight hunger in our state. We greatly appreciate our food donors, partners, and recipient agencies that collaborate with Adelante to reduce hunger in New Mexico.