Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Program - Nonprofit of the Month May 2015

May 26th, 2015


Casa de Peregrinos, an emergency food program, provides free supplemental groceries to individuals and families at risk of hunger in Las Cruces and Doa Ana County. Our mission is to serve as a safety link for thoseNew Mexico State University communication graduate student Nick Eckhart, communications studies undergraduate student Kellie Gamboa, communication graduate student and Miss New Mexico Alexis Duprey and communication graduate student Josele Diaz work a produce food drive that netted more than 5,000 pounds of fresh produce for Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Program. unable to purchase nutritious food due to an emergency or unforeseen personal crisis.

As part of that mission, we also commit ourselves to promote public awareness of hunger in Doa Ana County and to secure broad-based support for hunger prevention and relief in the county.


Casa de Peregrinos is Doa Ana County’s largest and longest running food pantry. Fore more than 35 years, Casa de Peregrinos has developed programs to proactively put food on the tables of many in need. Our flagship program, The Food Security Program in Las Cruces, and the Rural Expansion Food Initiative in the colonias of Doa Ana County, are our largest programs. The Children’s Summer Food Program is our most beloved by families with school-aged children. Our Homeless Program is beginning to make an impact. These programs benefit nearly 2,500 families and/or individuals every month with thousands of pounds of food going out our doors.

Key goals:


Our goals are to streamline our programs and become as efficient as possible given the resources available to us as a nonprofi t. We are also striving to reach more people and continue to advocate for this important mission and for the poor.

We also would like to encourage more partnerships with local businesses, churches and well as other nonprofit agencies to continue to serve this community and take care of the less fortunate.

For 35 years, Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Program has been serving the poor and hungry in our community. This all stems from the dream of four compassionate people in 1979: to provide shelter, a food-and-clothing bank, and cooperative activities for the homeless and immigrants.

The four dreamers were Manuela Moreno, Rosario Rodriguez, Alphonso de los Santos and Lucy Martinez. Their first office was at the home of Manuela Moreno.

In 1982, Sister Marsha Carrigan, a family counselor for the Diocese of El Paso, was assigned the extra duty of overseeing Casa de Peregrinos operation. She saw a greater need for food and proposed an expansion of the food service program.

That same year, Casa de Peregrinos hired its first paid employee, Isabel Romero, to manage the office and volunteers.

In 1984, Sister Marsha was replaced by Sister Rose Kidd: 1983 and 1984 saw Casa de Peregrinos moved to Spruce Street, finalize the documents needed for non-profit status and renew its commitment to the food program.

Some say Sister Rose would go door to door asking the community for donations for the program.

In 2005, Casa de Peregrinos moved to its state of the art facility and flagship pantry in the Community of Hope campus at 999. W. Amador Ave., Suite F.

The legacy of this organization now rests with us who are involved in this important and historic program of Las Cruces and Doa Ana County. Keeping the poor fed is only the beginning; keeping hope alive is a bigger task.

The founders of this organization set an example for this community because they believed in humanity.

Millions of pounds of food have been distributed to thousands of families in the last 35 years. In just the last three years,
more than 4 million pounds have been distributed in Las Cruces and Doa Ana County.

The need continues to be pervasive and we are grateful every day to the vision of our founders.

In the immortal words of Mother Teresa, “If you can’t feed a hundred, then just feed one.” We will continue to move forward for 35 more years. With your help we will make sure this dream is fulfilled.

Key people to know:

Lorenzo Alba Jr. – Executive Director Antoinette Fuentes – Board of Directors Chair Upcoming events and activities:

• Bank’34FoodDrive–30-Day Challenge – Currently happening at BANK’34 location

• StampOutHunger–U.S.Postal Workers Food Drive – May 9

• CenturyLinkMatchFoodDrive–June 1-12

Future plans:

To build sustainability for our organization so we can continue to build on the programs in place and possibly add programs to assist us in taking care of more people.