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.


  • RGFP’s food distribution program benefited 15,281 households or 42,329 clients (duplicate count – individuals and families may visit two or more times throughout the year and are counted each visit)
  • Provided a week’s worth of groceries to an average of 949 kids, adults, and seniors every week
  • Provided 977,056 pounds of groceries, or 814,213 meals to low-income kids, adults and seniors
  • Received, rescued and distributed 149,239 pounds of food for immediate distribution via generous community donations and grocery store food excess that would otherwise go to waste
  • Shared 64,210 pounds of food or 53,509 meals to 5 partner non-profits servicing high-risk populations that may have difficulty accessing a food pantry
  • Provided $494,140 in PNM Good Neighbor Fund utility bill assistance to 3,478 low-income households
  • Provided $83,504 in discounts (495 households) and grants (422 households) to ABCWUA clients