One hundred miles from St. Felix Pantry lies the community of Counselor, NM, a chapter of the Navajo Nation. Ninety percent of the households in this community have incomes below the U.S. Census Bureau’s poverty line of $33,000, while more than half of them have a yearly income below $15,000. A third of the residents are children. Many of the families live in trailers, without running water or electricity. Nearly a third of the households lack complete plumbing facilities, while over 40% lack complete kitchen facilities. Over 90% of the homes are heated with wood fires.
To help meet the needs of the residents of Counselor, St. Felix Pantry is partnering with the United Way of New Mexico on a 3-year grant-funded project, beginning in 2023. Rather than simply assessing the needs of the community from an outsider’s perspective, representatives from St. Felix will instead offer a “ministry of presence,” partnering with and listening to local leaders. Once they understand the needs of this vulnerable community, St. Felix will be able to offer such assistance as containers for families without running water, adult diapers, and coats for children, in addition to essential nutrition.
Always true to the Felician core values of respect for human dignity, solidarity with those in need, transformation, justice and peace, and compassion, St. Felix provides food, support, and referral services to its neighbors. In Counselor, NM, located in a literal desert that is also a “food desert,” St. Felix, led by CEO and Felician Sister Mary Angela Parkins, hopes to provide an oasis, through both advocacy and action.