Casita De Comida

In the valley of Española, a beacon of hope shone bright through the efforts of The Food Depot. With the generous fiscal support of $25,000 from United Way, they established Casita De Comida, a sanctuary of choice and dignity for those in need. On December 12, 2022, the doors of Casita De Comida opened, commencing a journey that would transform the lives of hundreds in the community.

Casita De Comida offered a unique shopping experience, providing a wide selection of essential items to 663 households. With cumulative 42 hours of open shopping time, this program catered to the needs of people throughout Rio Arriba County. The funding from the grant was instrumental in stocking the shelves with an array of fresh produce, dairy products, pantry staples, and personal care items.

Among the beneficiaries of Casita De Comida was Anita, a middle-aged mom, who found herself seeking help for the first time during challenging circumstances. With her husband undergoing a second surgery, she was grateful for the assistance in feeding their five children. Coming from Asia, their new life in New Mexico presented unfamiliar culinary choices, making the choice-based format at Casita De Comida particularly helpful.

Juliette, an elderly woman, also found solace in the store. In the face of soaring grocery prices, Casita De Comida provided her with much-needed relief. She appreciated the opportunity to select her own groceries, feeling a sense of empowerment instead of merely receiving handouts. The store's presence in Española was a testament to the community's need for affordable and nutritious options.

The Food Depot's dedication to preserving dignity and respect was evident throughout Casita De Comida's operations. Its staff worked tirelessly, ensuring that shoppers received the services they required. The program expanded beyond food distribution, offering supplemental packs of diapers and wipes monthly and collaborating with other divisions to provide staple boxes for seniors. The Food Depot's Resource Navigators were also instrumental in connecting shoppers to additional community resources.

As the program evolved, The Food Depot continued to refine its services. Introducing PantrySoft, a Client Management Software, streamlined administrative tasks, enhancing efficiency and compliance.

The success of Casita De Comida allowed The Food Depot to envision a bright future. With dedicated Programs and Operations staff, the program's sustainability and optimization were ensured. Monthly distributions would cater to 384 households, enriching the lives of even more individuals.

In the heartwarming stories of Anita, Juliette, and countless others, Casita De Comida embodied the spirit of hope, community, and resilience. It became more than just a food bank; it became a symbol of support and nourishment, nurturing both bodies and spirits alike. As the

store thrives, so do the souls of the people it touches, transforming the lives of families and individuals in Española, and leaving a legacy of compassion that will endure for years to come.