Members of the Los Lunas Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently joined together to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On June 17-19, 40 members helped box up 60 tons of food sent on three semi-trucks from their church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the church has sent 15 semis loaded with food to various parts of the United States each week. This donation was made possible by monthly monetary donations called “fast offerings” by members of the church around the world who voluntarily skip two meals every month and contribute the funds saved to the church.

Serena Guerro, Lawrence Guerro and Jacob Walz handing food and water to Alamo resident.
Photo courtesy of Eric Kern

The church uses the funds to prepare commodities to assist people in need quickly when a need arises. These food boxes will be distributed throughout New Mexico to medical clinics, Native Americans and senior centers. A small portion of the food was kept back in reserve for future needs.

Each box contained about 26 pounds of food and was accompanied by a 10-pound bag of flour or pancake mix. The volunteers worked so fast that the majority of the 44 pallets of food were distributed into boxes that day.

Most of the recipients of the boxes are in more remote areas of New Mexico, including the clinic in Magdalena and the Alamo Navajo Chapter, which are both within the Los Lunas Stake boundaries.

Sisters Hallen and Martin, church missionaries serving in New Mexico, and Theresa Pearson prepare to pack boxes.
Photo courtesy of Theresa Pearson

More than 68 boxes of food, cases of water and face masks were delivered to residents of the Alamo Navajo Chapter in Alamo on Friday, June 26, by church members.

Inez Apachito, community services coordinator for the chapter, said the food boxes delivered by the church were a “great help.” After the distribution, five of the boxes were delivered to families who had positive cases in their home.

The boxes contained pasta, spaghetti sauce, tuna, beans, peanut butter, cooking oil and canned vegetables, etc. — 26 pounds of food each. Every box was accompanied by a bag of flour or pancake mix, a case of water and face masks. The water and masks were donated by members of the church, which includes Alamo and goes north to the Ladera area of Albuquerque.

Jacob Walz, leader in the Los Lunas Stake, and Eric Kern, Alamo branch president for the church, and members, Lawrence and Serena Guerro distributed the donations with the help of Apachito and Lonnie Ganadonegro from the Alamo Chapter leadership. The Guerros are residents of Alamo as well.

Church members were also asked to donate water and soap to assist organizations and people in need in Socorro. Through their generosity, 15 cases of water and about 550 bars and bottles of soap were collected to assist two organizations, First Born Socorro and PSI Safe Harbor in Socorro, received the donations on Monday, July 6.

Beth Beers unloaded water at First Born in Socorro.
Photo courtesy of Julie Smith

First Born Socorro, affiliated with Socorro General Hospital, offers a free home visitation program designed to promote the growth and development of happy, healthy babies in positive, nurturing families.

This month’s theme is summer outdoor activities. They will be delivering the 15 cases of water and about 220 bottles/bars of soap that were donated to the young families that they serve.

Lorraine Brown and Julie Smith, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered the donation and helped Beth Beers and Richard Chavez, who work with the program, unload and organize the items.

The First Born Socorro staff expressed gratitude for the donations and were anxious to begin to deliver them to families in need.

PSI Safe Harbor is a non-profit organization in Socorro that is fighting homelessness and poverty in the area. They provide 40-100 homemade meals to persons in need every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

They also provide food bags, laundry facilities, showers, pet food, clothing, hygiene kits, housing, mail pick-up and rehabilitation services.

PSI Safe Harbor depends on volunteers as well as monetary and in-kind donations to be able to supply these services. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was pleased to donate more than 80 pounds of soap and 18 emergency hygiene kits to the organization.

Smith said she was quite impressed with the organization and especially the volunteers who were so kind and generous with their time and good cheer.

Kathy Gonzales, director; Olivia Doinidis, vice board chair; Jane, Charla, James, Matthew and Dee, who are volunteers at the facility, were appreciative of any help that they received.

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Julie Smith