Cocina Azul restaurant helps KOB 4 Pay it 4ward to Albuquerque Mutual Aid | KOB 4

Cocina Azul restaurant helps KOB 4 Pay it 4ward to Albuquerque Mutual Aid

Joy Wang
Updated: October 19, 2020 10:46 PM
Created: October 19, 2020 08:51 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — KOB 4 partnered with Cocina Azul to pay it forward to volunteers with Albuquerque Mutual Aid. 

Five days a week, Albuquerque Mutual Aid works to feed families across the metro area. Since the organization started seven months ago, they’ve been able to feed 26,000 people.

“Hygiene products, food, and like a weekly care package that helps people get through during the pandemic, and we do it in a way where we drop it off at people's doorsteps instead of them having to go and be in line to make sure that they're continuing to be safe,” said Miriam Gwilt with Albuquerque Mutual Aid.

People don’t need to show anything to qualify for aid. 

“Everyone is deserving of the basic needs that they have, like if you are hungry, you deserve to eat, and if you're asking for help with something, you shouldn't be made to prove that you need help—you should just get it,” Gwilt said.

Volunteers were fed a New Mexican staple of enchiladas.

“It helps a lot. It just keeps, you know, bottom line, bottom dollar, keep everybody going, and hopefully people like it. Hopefully it helps the community come to come in and try our food,” said Frank Barela Jr. with Cocina Azul.

Amid these unprecedented times, Barela said Cocina Azul has been lucky.

"Business has definitely fluctuated. It's been up and down and a little scary at times, but we've been lucky and had a relatively steady to-go business, but yeah,  it's definitely scary,” he said.

At the Mutual Aid, Gwilt said the hardships brought on by the pandemic have allowed people to come together.

“Poverty and food scarcity is difficult and there are a lot there are a lot of folks who in Albuquerque especially were food insecure. And I think that the pandemic kind of just exacerbated those issues and allowed us to come together,” they said.

The organization gives people of all ages and backgrounds a chance to help.

“My husband's in his 70s. I just turned 67. We can't reasonably be out, and possibly exposed to COVID,” said Diane McCash, a volunteer. “It gave us an opportunity to give something to our community, so we've been donating since March.”

For more information about Albuquerque Mutual Aid, click here.

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