Bikers bring 30,000 meals to feed migrants at facility in New Mexico

Algernon D'Ammassa
Bikers bring 30,000 meals to feed migrants at facility in New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The arrival of about 25 motorcycles announced the donation of 30,000 non-perishable meals for migrants being processed at a facility in New Mexico.

Las Cruces Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Daniels, the emergency operations commander on scene, said the donation was a welcome surprise.

The bikers arrived Friday ready to unload five or six pallets' worth of meals from Pack Away Hunger, an Indiana-based nonprofit that distributes meals in pouches that can be prepared with hot water. The organization delivers to countries worldwide. 

They arrived without announcement, and with the help of migrants, who immediately lined up to assist, the meals were unloaded in minutes.

Volunteers unload non-perishable meals donated by Pack Away Hunger at the former U.S. Army Reserve Center in Las Cruces, where migrants released from federal custody are being processed. Friday, May 17, 2019.

Their first stop had been the nearby transitional living community, Camp Hope, where they delivered 5,000 meals.

City spokesman Udell Vigil told the Sun-News the motorcycle clubs at the scene included the Bandidos, Soldados, Squad, Riga, and Guardians of Children. 

Victoria Fisk, a former educator who lives in Las Cruces, told the Sun-News the donation came about after she contacted a friend who worked with Pack Away Hunger.

As it happened, a large shipment was being organized for sites in Guatemala and Honduras, she said, and the organization arranged to send some meals to Las Cruces.

"This went so fast," Fisk said. "We literally put it together a week ago."

Daniels said that Border Patrol continued to release the migrants, who are legally present in the United States while applying for political asylum, at the facility Friday, with 216 on the premises at lunchtime. Daily drop-offs of asylum seekers have been ongoing in Las Cruces since April 12.

Pack Away Hunder donated 30,000 dehydrated meals consisting of rice, vegetables and texturized vegetable protein for migrants being processed at the former U.S. Army Reserve Center in Las Cruces. Nearby Camp Hope received an additional 5,000 meals. Friday, May 17, 2019.

More than 5,000 asylum applicants have been released in Las Cruces since April 12. 

Fisk said asking her friend if Pack Away Hunger could help seemed natural enough.

"I was a single mom that struggled for many many years," she said, "and something I always taught my students is that it’s so rewarding to give back."

Follow Algernon D'Ammassa on Twitter: @AlgernonActor

This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Bikers bring 30,000 meals to feed migrants at facility in New Mexico