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Casa Rosa holds first feedback luncheon with clients

—Charlotte Lough, Chair, Casa Rosa Food Bank

On Saturday, October 17, the Casa Rosa Board of Directors held its first “Feedback Luncheon” with clients from Casa Rosa.

After everyone had their fill, there was a discussion, facilitated by Jeff Dickson, Vice Chair of the Casa Rosa Board. The purpose of the discussion was to gain feedback and ideas from the consumers about procedures and operation of Casa Rosa during its first year. Some of the questions posed were, “What’s going well; what’s not; and how can we improve services for clients as we move into our second year of operation?“

A suggestion box was placed at Casa Rosa three weeks prior to the luncheon. Clients were asked to fill out a brief survey rating the importance of Casa Rosa for them and noting the three most important items offered at the food bank. Ninety-six percent rated Casa Rosa as very important in their lives at this point in time. By a large majority, the three most important items noted were cheese/eggs/dairy, frozen meats, and canned goods, in that order. The food bank recently expanded its refrigerator/freezer capabilities due to a donated appliance from Bev and Norm Schippers. This has allowed Casa Rosa to provide more of the prioritized goods.

There were numerous ideas presented regarding reduction of the congestion at the sign-in desk and entrance area of the food bank, provision of a waiting area for clients to peruse the books and coats/clothing offered while waiting to food shop, and creation of a more efficient flow in the food shopping area. One client offered to organize client- and volunteer-submitted recipes utilizing ingredients available at the food bank; the recipes could be included in a cookbook that would be made available to clients. It was a productive hour, and all ideas will be addressed at the next Casa Rosa board meeting.

The plan is for the feedback luncheon to become a tradition and to be incorporated into the schedule at least twice a year. The information gleaned will keep the board on track and in tune to the needs as they change and evolve at Casa Rosa.

Upcoming events for Casa Rosa include assisting with the annual turkey basket project sponsored by the Board of Deacons at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church (LPCC). The Deacons request donated Thanksgiving baskets from members and friends of LPPC to include: turkey, stuffing, gravy, instant potatoes, rolls, canned vegetables, canned fruit, cranberry sauce, butter/oleo, a large box of Jell-O, a half dozen eggs, and a pie. Some who donate choose to supply multiple turkeys without the other items, so the Deacons supplement from their fund to complete the baskets. There are usually twenty-five to thirty baskets distributed and they will be given out from the Upper Room at the church on Saturday, November 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The list for distribution was initiated in the latter part of October and referrals for the baskets continue to be collected at Casa Rosa. Those who are consumers at Casa Rosa may come to the food bank before or after picking up their basket to do their regular weekly shopping there.

In this busy time, another event that is occurring is the Holiday Sale, November 21 and 22. Casa Rosa will have adobe house pins for sale in the big tent as well as at the Chile Pepper Café in the church. This is Casa Rosa’s fundraising project, initiated this fall, to assist in keeping the food bank sustainable. The pins are from Designs by Lucinda, who after two years of homelessness, created a simple pin in the shape of a house as a fundraiser for the homeless. These pins were a huge success.

For the next few years, Lucinda continued to make house pins and was inspired to design additional pins representing several other challenging social issues. Nineteen years later, Designs by Lucinda has helped thousands of non-profit organizations raise money to create positive change in people’s lives. The adobe house pin was a suggestion from a Placitas resident and a former worker at Casa Rosa. Six models of adobe houses were designed, but since each is handcrafted, every pin is an original. The pins will be sold for $20 (with a pin alone) and $22 (with a pin and bail so the pin can be worn on a chain). They make great Christmas or birthday gifts or “just because “presents. The profit from each pin allows Casa Rosa to provide approximately thirteen meals for consumers.

The other project that Casa Rosa is pursuing this fall is collection of coats for Casa Rosa. La Puerta Realty has been holding a coat drive for Casa Rosa for the past month, collecting gently-used coats, warm hats, gloves, and scarves to keep Placitans warm this winter. If you have any of these items that are in good repair and that you no longer need, you may bring them to La Puerta Realty Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or to LPPC (deposit them in the blue bins across from the church offices) Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Come and join us as we reach out a helping hand for Placitas.

Esther Bone Memorial Library announces November events

Cooking with Chile for the Holidays will be a free (no tickets required), illustrated talk and live cooking demonstration presented by internationally known chef and author Jane Butel on November 3 at 6:30 p.m. Butel will discuss the history and health aspects of green and red chile, while also demonstrating and serving samples of a favorite hallmark chili, Bowl o’ Red.

Ms. Butel will conduct a question-and-answer session and offer copies of several of her cookbooks for sale and signing.

On November 5 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., the library will present a free educational workshop designed to help job seekers find suitable work. During the one-and-a-half-hour workshop, attendees will receive new strategies, tools, and resources to help them focus their efforts to get better results. This program is facilitated by Jane Emberty, Certified Career Coach and Human Resources professional with more than twenty-five years experience in the recruiting and selection process. She coaches clients to new levels during their job search and encourages them to identify and find their ideal job. Prior registration is not required for this workshop.

At 10:00 a.m. on November 14, Don Fox, Regional Office Director for Great Wall China Adoption, will present an overview on how to adopt a child from another country. Great Wall China Adoption is an internationally recognized leader in Chinese adoption for over thirteen years. They are a non-profit organization with experience in placing more than seven thousand adoptions nationwide and around the globe. Mr. Fox will be joined by Rio Rancho Library staff member, Kim Femling, who recently adopted a child from Ethiopia. Ms. Femling will discuss her family’s experience in bringing an adopted child into her home. Registration is not required for this event.

On November 17 at 6:30 p.m., The Three Pipers of Rio Rancho will perform a special concert of bagpipe music, including a history of the bagpipe in music and the military. The performers are Joseph Brennan (Piper), Suzanne Aden Lumb (Pipe Major), and Nate Lorenze (Pipe Sergeant). Free tickets for this performance are going fast at the adult information desk in the library.

The Esther Bone Memorial Library is located at 950 Pinetree Road SE in Rio Rancho. For information about any of the events listed above, call 891-5012, extension 3128.






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