The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Giving goes on throughout pandemic


Last updated 5/26/2020 at 5:19pm

David Stevens

The Lighthouse Mission is still operating through the pandemic. Michelle Armijo works in the kitchen on Tuesday.

COVID-19 shut down just about every aspect of normal life.

But good will in the community has continued on, under restrictions.

The local not-for-profits, though being somewhat curtailed by social distancing guidelines, have kept providing meals, clothing, even essential bills.

Neediness didn't take a COVID break.

"For us it didn't slow down. In fact, it accelerated at a high rate of speed," said Sheila Savitz of Consigning Women-Angel Ministries in Portales.

Savitz said her store was asked to close for safety reasons, and did. But feeding people in need couldn't stop, and didn't.

"When we were closed I would come in every day and feed families," Savitz said, "because people were hungry and they hadn't gotten their stimulus checks yet. ... People would come from everywhere - people would come from Floyd, people would come from Elida, they would come from Muleshoe. People needed food."

Lighthouse Mission in Clovis also had to operate differently than before, but kept supplying meals.

"We never closed the soup kitchen," said Debbie Montoya, once a homeless addict who is now the mission's homeless shelter manager, women's recovery program assistant manager and front-desk person. "We provided breakfast at 7:45 and lunch at 11:45. Our boss, Richard Gomez, sat at the door and served because he didn't want to let any of the staff get near anyone. We were not allowed to interact with the public. He was the only one who handed the meals out Monday through Friday."

And that's been going on weekdays since mid-March.

"He doesn't stop, he's a beast," Montoya said of Gomez. "We tell him, 'Let us do something.' He says, 'No, get back, Jack.'"

Clovis' Salvation Army has also continued its acts of charity, virus and all.

"We haven't stopped since this started two months ago," Salvation Army Capt. Maria Ibarra said. "We keep helping families with food and essentials."

There are senior citizens and people with disabilities who can't get to the Salvation Army building because they don't have transportation or aren't able to drive. Some are afraid to come.

"Some of them need specific food because they have a specific diet," said Ibarra, noting high cholesterol and diabetes among the issues. "They just tell us what they need and we bring them what they need. Some of them need vegetables, healthy food."

The Salvation Army delivers to people's homes Wednesday and Friday if necessary. On Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., the organization helps people with their essential bills, like phone and rent.

"We already did that on a regular basis," Ibarra said, "but now we have more people asking for that."

The Lighthouse Mission hasn't been allowed to let people in to get clothing like before, but there is a sign advising them to call and tell the mission what clothes and sizes they need, and a staff member meets them at the door to give them the clothes.

Donations have also been accepted by the mission, with people leaving them and a staff member picking them up.

Angel Ministries had its own tough time during the crisis because of not being able to sell its clothing.

"Nothing was coming through the front door," Savitz said.

And the money to help those in need was running out.

"We got down to $211 in our account," Savitz said, "and I really thought hard and long, and prayed with all my might that it would increase."

And Angel Ministries has stayed afloat.

"We're here," Savitz said, "to serve another day."


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