By Eric Butler
If the weather changes or the kids are just getting out of school for the summer, Joe Callahan is right on top of it.
But Callahan isn’t a businessman looking for angles in the marketplace. He’s the pastor at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Clovis and his interest in these kinds of developments primarily exists because of his worry over the ability of some to keep food on the table.
“When school’s out, the kids are not getting a meal at the school, so we usually try to make sure there’s some school around the house,” Callahan said. “And, in wintertime, people don’t have the ability to go out and buy a whole bunch of food because of the utility bills. We try to do it when it will impact the community the most.”
St. John’s is one of several local churches whose efforts such as these are substantially impacted by the Lifesaver Food Bank.
Callahan said that his group takes food to neighborhoods, he believes, have a higher ratio of families in need of food. These humanitarian trips for the St. John’s volunteers happens approximately once a month.
“We go down through the poorest part of neighborhoods and give them (the food packages) to the ones who need it. We also go through the school system – if we know of a family that needs food, we try to provide it,” Callahan said. “We go over to the food bank and grab produce and items I know that we can easily give to families.”
The food bank doesn’t distribute food directly out of its Clovis location, but rather has groups come to it instead.
There are exceptions to the rule, however. The United Way-supported Lifesaver Food Bank provides food to an area that includes eight New Mexico counties and one (Parmer) in Texas. When the Food Bank does bring food out itself, it is done through two trucks.
Most of the organization’s donations come through either companies or, in the case of canned goods, through food drives held throughout the year.
Taylor said. that the Food Bank’s location will be changing within a year — to one located on North Humphrey Road a mile outside of Clovis. She thinks that will make it easier for companies to donate through their normal store-delivery trucks.
“That’s going to give us the opportunity to have truckers on the same side of the track as we are,” Taylor said. “That way, they don’t have to negotiate railroad crossings. It’ll make it easier for them to come and donate to us.”