Abiquiú Elementary School is providing a critical service to the community with the food pantry during the pandemic, providing meals to students and families in need every weekend.
The Abiquiú Food Pantry provides weekly food distribution for families and community members. Luciente, Inc. - an Abiquiú-based nonprofit seeking to meet children’s needs in education and hunger - supplies the food for the school to distribute. The food pantry distributes weekly bags of food on Fridays, supplementing the School District’s Monday-Friday meal delivery.
Over the summer, Luciente approached Abiquiú Principal Yvette Bakken and the Elementary School administration with the idea.
“After a few weeks of planning, an area within the school was designated as the Luciente Food Pantry,” Bakken wrote in an email. “What once was a closet became a large walk in area, with plenty of shelf space and a large brand new refrigerator to store perishable items.”
School staff order food and snacks, and provide them to students to get them through the weekend. Bakken wrote that once health restrictions are lifted, the food pantry will be able to provide food to children during the week.
Bakken wrote Luciente provides the food, and school staff, including office manager Ashley Noe and educational assistant Matti Gallegos create food orders, distribute snack bags, and work on other managerial aspects. Luciente volunteers also help stock shelves and deliver groceries.
“Abiquiú is a great community that has come together, especially during this time of need,” Bakken wrote. “Although the school provides meals Monday-Friday, Luciente has made it possible to supplement the nutritional needs of students by providing them with food over the weekend, to ensure that no student goes hungry.”
During a Dec. 3 Board work session, Española School District Superintendent Fred Trujillo recognized Bakken and her work for the food pantry, and read a letter from Luciente President Wendy Dolci.
“None of this would be possible without Yvette (Bakken)’s support,” Dolci wrote. “Every step of the way, she’s been there for the pantry program for the children. This includes allocating pantry space for the school, managing food distribution, and providing food-driven guidance. It’s been great to work with Yvette, who obviously shares our goal of making sure no child goes hungry at Abiquiú Elementary School.”
Bakken told the Board about the pantry and how the program began with Luciente. The food pantry provided a turkey to every family and employee with the school for Thanksgiving, and for Christmas, every family and employee will receive a ham.
“I have some great staff that work with me,” Bakken said.
Bakken wrote Luciente has opened another food pantry at Coronado High School.