Emergency Food Distribution will occur at 11am on June 9th.
Aztec Community Assistance provides groceries to local residents in need, as well as gasoline, clothing, school supplies, and occasional help with rent or utilities. We are open from Monday through Thursday each week between 8:30 to 1:00. Aztec UMC’s Fellowship Hall has been transformed by walls of shelves holding labeled boxes of sorted non-perishable foods. Volunteers make weekly visits to the ECHO Food Bank in Farmington, local vegetable farmers in season, and pick up out-of-date bread and baked goods to be distributed. The Food Bank had been giving us a freezer full of meat for free each week, but has recently had to begin charging us $.05 per pound for meat. Some items are still free, and the rest cost much less than buying them retail.
The Aztec program has been going on for many years, but we ramped up our publicity and our profile in the community after partnering with the Post Office to receive their yearly food drive. This partnership led to partnering with one of the public schools each year and this year (2013) to getting UPS, Domino’s Pizza to give us a reduced rate for Pizzas and the Pepsi bottling plant to donate 5 cases of drinks so we could feed the over 40 volunteers who came to help. The UPS volunteers loaded the food on their trucks from the Post Office and unloaded it at the church. Human chains handed off the sacks of food into the basement Fellowship Hall, where other volunteers (school kids, teachers and church members) worked together to sort and store the organized food on shelves. Several times, we have had recipients of the food come to help with this organization, too. Another big day is the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The Aztec Ministerial Alliance partnered with the Public Schools Social Workers to identify families needing Thanksgiving Food Baskets. Each church has put together its own list of foods in their baskets, but all include turkey, dressing, etc. Aztec UMC has found that buying large re-usable plastic tubs to pack the food in for delivery works better than cardboard boxes. Church members fill the tubs after sharing a pot-luck lunch after church. These are delivered to the schools on Monday for the families to pick up, or delivered directly to families that lack transportation. Our local free newspaper has put in a number of articles about the Aztec UMC Food Pantry and Community Assistance programs.