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Pantries, RRPS, Corrales FD help during social distancing

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The novel coronavirus hasn’t stopped several local groups from working to make sure residents have what they need.

St. Felix Pantry and Storehouse West food pantry continue to operate, albeit under different procedures, and Rio Rancho Public Schools and Corrales Fire Department have become conduits to help meet various needs.

This week, St. Felix will decrease its hours to be open from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“We are in need of donations because we are purchasing food in vast quantities and we are going to see more extreme need,” said St. Felix Vice President of Development Rachael Miletkov.

She prefers monetary donations so the pantry can buy food in bulk for reduced per-unit prices, stretching the money.

“We were slammed (Tuesday),” she said.

St. Felix clothing-assistance referrals and all classes are canceled until further notice in an effort to limit the spread of the virus. She said pantry staff will inform guests of new sanitation rules during food distribution.

“All of our volunteers are required to wear gloves,” Miletkov said, adding that they would change their gloves often.

People can donate online at stfelixpantry.org/donate, a secure site, or call the pantry at 891-8075 or email Miletkov at rmiletkov@stfelixpantry.org to check into other arrangements for donating.

Storehouse West is operating on its normal schedule but has shifted to drive-thru service, said Executive Director Jim Payne.

“Clients will remain in their vehicles, and a basket of food will be delivered to the vehicle. No clients will be in the building, thereby minimizing the direct contact with our volunteer staff,” he said.

Payne said clients will have less choice in the food they get, but will receive the same types of food in the same quantities as usual.

Thursday, he said Storehouse West had been able to maintain its usual stock of food through its partnership with Roadrunner Food Bank.

“That could change tomorrow,” he said.

The pantry can always use donations of nonperishable food or money to buy perishable food.

Payne said it was too early to tell if the volume of clients was up. Wednesday, the pantry saw a few more people than normal, but nothing unprecedented, he said.

The pantry is open Monday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Wednesday from noon to 4:30 p.m. Clients must live in Sandoval County.

To make a donation to Storehouse West, visit storehousewest.org to make an online monetary contribution, or call 892-2077 or email storehousewestnm@gmail.com to make other arrangements.

Rio Rancho Public Schools is running a hotline for families in need. Staff members are also seeking donations of toilet paper, paper towels, baby formula of various types, diapers of all sizes, baby wipes and baby food to pass along to those families.

For help, call the hotline at 896-0667 and press 0. To donate, call the hotline or email Communications Manager Melissa Perez at melissa.perez@rrps.net.

In addition, Corrales Fire Department is collecting and distributing similar items.

“I have seen a lot of people willing to help out people within the community who have a need for food,” Commander Tanya Lattin wrote in an e-newsletter. “I have received a few requests in Corrales, and I am helping other agencies within Sandoval County as well.”

Firefighters are collecting toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, hand soap, dish soap, milk, powdered milk, bread, snack foods for children out of school, canned goods, beans, rice, cereal, other food staples, diapers and eggs.

People can also donate money, with checks made out to Kiwanis Club of Corrales with “Fire Dept. Drive” on the memo line.

To donate, email Lattin at tlattin@corrales-nm.org or call 898-7501 to arrange for drop-off. Donors must call or email in advance so firefighters can observe social-distancing procedures.

Checks can be mailed to Corrales Fire Department, 4920 Corrales Road, Corrales NM 87048.

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