Walmart regularly donates food items to the Socorro Storehouse, which are then distributed locally.
Cathy Cook| El Defensor Chieftain

With food costs on the rise and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits reduced, the Socorro Storehouse is seeing a rising need for food assistance in Socorro County.

The Socorro Storehouse is a hub for food services in Socorro County. The Storehouse distributes monthly food boxes for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), collaborates with Socorro County and emergency services to help meet food needs throughout the county, provides emergency food packages to Puerto Seguro, and works with the senior centers to help them meet food needs.

Before COVID-19, the Storehouse was serving 50 to 60 families per week, said Executive Director Melissa Ramsey. But when the pandemic set in, the federal government increased food assistance with emergency allotments. Extra dollars came in from the government to help families get the groceries they needed. During the pandemic, the Storehouse was seeing an average of 12 to 20 families per week. Nationwide, those emergency allotments ended after February.

As the additional SNAP benefits have been cut back, the Storehouse is seeing a rise in the local need for food assistance.

The number of households they are serving has climbed back up to 30 to 50 per week. With the increased need, the Storehouse also needs an increase in donations.

What kind of households the Storehouse is feeding has also shifted since the pandemic. Before the pandemic, many of the clients were families with children. There would be twice the number of adults compared to children served.

During the pandemic most of those families stopped coming to the Storehouse for assistance. Now that need is increasing, the number of families with children returning has increased, but there are still more adult and elderly clients than households with children, said Ramsey.

“Students, they can’t concentrate and they have no security at home if they’re not able to eat. Same with seniors. People don’t realize that the seniors are really in bad shape. They need as much as the kids do, if not more,” she said.

People underestimate how important nourishment is for seniors, said Ramsey.

“Everybody talks about the kids, and yes, the kids need it, families need it, but the seniors are also left behind, and a lot of them, they can’t get here to pick up.”

Courtesy photo

The Storehouse needs donations of food and money to meet the increased need. There are already churches that donate beans, rice, pasta, spaghetti sauce, and hygiene products, and the Animal Protective Association of Socorro donates dog and cat food. Walmart also regularly donates food items. But the Storehouse needs more items like small boxes of cereal, instant ramen noodle cups, Hamburger Helper-type items, and boxed macaroni and cheese. Ready-to-eat pop top items like canned ravioli can be included in the food packs distributed by the homeless shelter.

While the Storehouse needs more donations, they have plenty of volunteers at present.

“The word Socorro is succor, help, and that’s exactly what this town does. If it needs something, food or whatever, this town does it,” said Ramsey.

One volunteer, Concha Maese, worked at the Storehouse for over 20 years until she passed away in 2020. She was such a devoted volunteer that one of the rooms where food is prepared was named after her before she passed.

“I meet a lot of amazing people through here,” said Ramsey. “That’s one of the things that I like about Socorro.”

To find out more about receiving food assistance from the Storehouse, visit on a Thursday between 12 and 2 p.m. To participate in TEFAP, bring a picture ID, plus names and birth dates of everyone in the household. The gross income limits for New Mexico TEFAP are:

$2,096 monthly for a one-person household.

$2,823 monthly for a two-person household.

$3,551 monthly for a three-person household.

$4,279 monthly for a four-person household

$5,006 monthly for a five-person household

$5,734 monthly for a six-person household

$6,462 monthly for a seven-person household

$7,189 monthly for an eight-person household