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Jemez Pueblo Food Pantry

Posted on August 30, 2023, by Mary Ann McGivern SL

Loretto Co-member Karen Knoll manages a food pantry on the Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico. She purchases about $450 worth of food each month, enough for 15 boxes for seniors. Forty-five senior families are on the list of those in need, so each household only receives a box every third month. The pantry relies on Loretto’s Hunger Fund for financial support, the local Presbyterian Church and a local community center who provide the pantry with their excess donated items.

Karen manages this program through the all-volunteer, non-profit organization Jemez Helping Hands (JHH) which was founded in 1999. For many years since its founding, Sharon Palma, Dori Kincaide and Karen Knoll served on the board of directors. 

three women stand around a bunch of covered boxes that filled with pantry staples.
From left, Allison Lemons CoL, Karen Knoll CoL and Sharon Palma CoL at the Jemez Helping Hands food pantry.
Photo by Mary Ann McGivern SL

JHH maintains a small food pantry on the pueblo for emergency needs and Christmas food boxes. There is no grocery store on the pueblo, which has a population of almost 2,000 members. The senior center provides a hot meal at noon five days a week. When the COVID-19 pandemic began it was very difficult for families, especially elders, to obtain groceries as they were placed on a strict lockdown. While the pueblo was in lockdown the members were unable to sell their pottery, jewelry, etc. and were in desperate financial need. Karen consulted with the senior center manager to ask how she might be of assistance. It was decided the most important needs were for basics such as flour, beans, rice, canned vegetables, soup, etc. The senior center provides staff to deliver the food boxes to elders’ homes. Karen, through the Loretto Hunger Fund, has continued the monthly food boxes as the senior center staff continue to express that the need is great for many elders. 

Click here to send your gift to the food pantry through the Hunger Fund. Type in the comment box “Jemez Pueblo.”


Mary Ann McGivern SL

Mary Ann recently moved from St. Louis to the Loretto Motherhouse in Kentucky. She is searching for entry points into Marian County, Ky., civic life — funding the day care center, improving jail services, helping stop a pipeline through Bernheim Forest. She is on the roster of homilists at Loretto Chapel’s Sunday Communion service. Mary Ann has been a Sister of Loretto since 1960.
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