In the summer of 1989, Rio Grande Presbyterian Church members were challenged by their pastor to feed hungry New Mexicans. The original vision was to be a satellite of another food pantry and to provide emergency food to the neighborhood around the church. That vision quickly expanded to establish an independent food pantry for the west side of the city.
By December 1989, the Rio Grande Food Project opened and distributed its first food boxes. Seed money from the Bicentennial Fund of the Presbyterian Church USA served as the catalyst and helped provide funding for the first year. Donations from church members, other congregations, and community grants were also used to purchase food. Members of the church congregation personally distributed 2,000 pounds of food to our first clients.
We will always be grateful to the members and leadership of the Rio Grande Presbyterian Church for giving us our start. We have now been in continuous operation for 27 years. During this time, the number of people served and the amount of food distributed has continued to grow. In 2016, we served 1.285 million meals to over 47,000 hungry New Mexicans.