Feed Rio Rancho Kids received a $5,000 grant from the Sandoval County Commission to support expansion of the program and help meet the needs of area children who are food-deprived.

“This grant makes it possible for us to assist in expanding the program to other parts of the county, to purchase a hand truck and shelving for storage and helps us meet the rising cost for food,” said Karen Schafer, of the Sandoval County Federation of Democratic Women. “It is validation for our volunteers that the work we do is appreciated and essential.”

County Commissioner Katherine Bruch made the allocation, received in January, from her commissioner discretionary funds.

“We do have some significant issues with food security around some of the children in our schools in all our (commission) districts,” she said. “… It’s just really something that we have not taken as close of a look at as we need to.”

Bruch said she’s hoping to work with Feed Rio Rancho Kids to identify a nonprofit to expand that mission into Bernalillo schools.

Feed Rio Rancho Kids coordinating team members Christine Spigarelli and Kitty Perez, Sandoval County Commissioner Katherine Bruch and coordinating team members Karen Schafer and Emily Seiler pose during a recent snack-pack assembly day. Courtesy photo.

A project of Sandoval County Federation of Democratic Women and the Unitarian Universalist Westside Congregation, Feed Rio Rancho Kids began in 2019.  Volunteers deliver snack packs through the schools on Fridays to provide food for students in need over the weekend.

Schafer said the group keeps the schools served confidential and works with social workers for privacy, so even volunteers don’t know the identity of the students.

The first semester of this school year, the group provided 820 snack packs. Volunteers also provided new winter coats and 10 new backpacks filled with school supplies.

Volunteer Virginia Breeding and Rio Rancho City Councilor Karissa Culbreath made the coats and backpacks possible.

Anyone interested in contributing food or money to Feed Rio Rancho Kids can visit uuwestside.org/index.php/feed-the-kids-rio-rancho/ and click on “Support” near the top right corner of the page.