Storehouse West, an organization that provides food and clothing to qualified residents of Sandoval County, is providing school supplies to residents of Sandoval County who are in need as the first day of Rio Rancho Public Schools approaches on Aug. 3.

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit accepts monetary and food donations and volunteers to help distribute items to residents who qualify for The Emergency Assistance Food Program (TEFAP), which is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Executive Director Victoria Flick said that all residents are invited to volunteer at the pantry. There are many volunteer options, including packing bags of food, which can be done while sitting.

Bags of food at Storehouse West, organized and packed by volunteers (Lauren Lifke)

“We have parents come in with their teenage parents, we have cheerleading groups, we have soccer teams,” Flick said. “Some people have the impression that you can’t volunteer unless you can lift heavy amounts of weight. Well, that’s not the case at all.”

The Kids Clothes Closet works in concert with Storehouse West to help low-income families. Ronna Brant, volunteer manager, and her volunteers help families receive free, gently used clothing and new socks and underwear at each visit. It serves infants to high school students.

Families are eligible to visit the Kids Clothes Closet by appointment every other month, and walk-ins are welcome when appointments are available. The closet’s inventory is seasonal and weather appropriate. Its seasonal items include shorts, bathing suits and winter coats. Items are sorted for size and age-appropriateness.

“She’s very careful with the quality of the clothing that she brings in,” said Flick. “We don’t throw anything away unless it’s really terrible.” Clothing that is not needed but still usable is donated to Savers in Albuquerque.

Currently, Kids Clothes Closet is helping school-age children with toothbrushes, toothpaste and school supplies donated by the community and local churches. The supplies provided include crayons, pencils, zipper binders, combination locks, notebooks, colored pencils and more.

“We’re just going to keep distributing those as long as we see a need into the fall,” Flick said.

Kids Clothes Closet (Lauren Lifke)

Storehouse West also distributes shelf-stable foods to communities outside of Rio Rancho, including parts of Bernalillo and Jemez, and it is in the process of trying to acquire a grant for a refrigerated box truck to expand those deliveries, including the ability to add fresh and frozen foods in the remote distributions..

Roadrunner Food Bank supplies USDA commodities to Storehouse West and other partner pantries in Sandoval County through TEFAP. Flick emphasized that Storehouse West always welcomes food, clothing and monetary donations. Currently, the nonprofit is especially in need of dry beans, canned soup, peanut butter, jam and jelly in plastic containers and Ramen noodles.

Clients are invited to receive free holiday meals during November and December in addition to their monthly allocation of food.

Deborah Bock, assistant to the executive directory, said that the company will start to advertise its list of holiday needs in the fall.

“We want any support we can get for our holiday food distribution,” Bock said. “We will probably provide, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, about 600 holiday dinners.”

Volunteers at Storehouse West distribute food on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays from noon to 4:30 p.m. Those who wish to donate food may do so during these hours. Prospective volunteers may email [email protected] for more information. To donate via PayPal, visit this link.

“We’re always in need of volunteers,” Flick said.