HISTORY

El Caldito Soup Kitchen, a cornerstone in Las Cruces for over 40 years, tirelessly serves the homeless and those in poverty. Established in January 1984 with a once-a-week mid-day meal, it has since grown substantially. Relocating to the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope campus in 1998, El Caldito expanded its services to a hot mid-day meal Monday through Friday from early 2002, a Saturday carry-out lunch in December 2002, and a hot Sunday lunch in early 2010.

Trends

The demand for meals increases annually, peaking in July during school vacations. End-of-month spikes are common as many on fixed incomes face food shortages.

Challenges

Expanding services necessitate more space and equipment upkeep. Volunteer turnover is a challenge, with a notable dip in summer and holiday staffing.

Expertise in fundraising, event planning, social service, banking, and food service management is sought for our board of directors.

Funding remains vital for operational costs, including utilities and kitchen maintenance. To support El Caldito’s mission, donations are gratefully accepted HERE.

Timeline

1984

El Caldito's journey began at St. Andrews Church, offering a simple yet significant service: a lunch of sandwiches, available one day a week. This initiative was a collaborative effort by volunteer groups from St. Andrews, St. Paul's, Holy Cross, and the Jewish Temple. Each serving day saw about 12 dedicated volunteers catering to 60-80 patrons.

1985-1987

Expansion occurred, and the service extended to four days a week, from Monday through Thursday. The menu diversified slightly, including both sandwiches and soup. The number of meals served rose to an average of 85 per day, with the volunteer base expanding to approximately 50 individuals weekly.

1991

Launch of the Food Rescue program, initially operating once a week. Due to growing support and need, this quickly expanded to four days a week.

1998

Launch of the Food Rescue program, initially operating once a week. Due to growing support and need, this quickly expanded to four days a week.

El Caldito began receiving grant support from both city and state sources, signifying recognition and support for its community service.

1999

Gabe Anaya took the helm as President of the board of directors. Under his leadership, special Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were introduced. The Food Rescue program experienced significant growth as more businesses, farmers, and individuals became aware of and contributed to El Caldito's services.

2002

Introduction of the Saturday carry-out sack lunch, featuring a more varied selection including sandwiches, fruit, a cookie, a beverage, and assorted snacks like chips, energy bars, and yogurt cups.

2010

Sunday saw the addition of a hot lunch service, meaning El Caldito was now providing mid-day meals every day of the week, throughout the year.

2012

The United Military Women of the Southwest hosted the first Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser in the El Caldito dining room, setting the stage for an annual event each spring.

2014

The average number of daily lunches served reached a new milestone of 200.

2016

Continuing the trend of growth, the daily lunch service averaged 250 meals.

2023

Launch of the new El Caldito website, marking a step forward in the organization's digital presence and outreach capabilities.

Today

El Caldito continues to provide daily meals to those in need, upholding its mission of compassion and care. Your ongoing support enables us to expand our reach and impact, ensuring no one in our community goes hungry.