St. Felix Pantry was incorporated in 1992 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. This weekend, the pantry is celebrating its 31st anniversary with an open house.
The public is invited to St. Felix Pantry from 2-5 p.m. Sunday to see the work that is being done to help those in need.
St. Felix Pantry began with Sister Genevieve of the Rio Rancho Convent traveling around the area to pick up day-old bread from various businesses and giving the bread out of the trunk of her car to the needy. Now its a nonprofit that has been feeding the hungry in the community for more than three decades.
The pantry has been a resource for the most vulnerable, not only in Rio Rancho, but throughout New Mexico. It is the only food pantry in Sandoval County that offers weekly access to groceries. St. Felix feeds more than 1,000 individuals each week.
While the goal at St. Felix is to help those in need, something that is very important is respect for human dignity.
“We call everybody a guest, not a client,” Director of Development Rachael Miletkov said. “Because from the Felician sisters, one of their core values is recognizing the dignity in each human being, and so that’s part of why we have language and the way we serve and the way we meet people where they are. It’s recognizing everyone’s dignity.”
St. Felix usually had around 100 volunteers working to sort through, stock and distribute groceries prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now a group of 70 works in rotating groups of 20 to feed hungry people. St. Felix is open and serving food Thursday, Friday and Saturday; Tuesday and Wednesday are used to prepare and get that food ready and ensure that everybody gets a variety in their grocery cart.
“I tell everybody, especially my teenage boys, you can do something,” Miletkov said. “You can’t handle the whole world’s problems, but you can do something, you can start somewhere with something small. Even if it’s just seeing the person on the side of the street and just acknowledging them with a wave. That’s something. Don’t pretend like you don’t see. We all know it’s a big problem, but you can do something.”