About The Community Cupboard

The Community Cupboard is a neighborhood-supported effort to help our neighbors in need of food assistance.

The concept is similar to the free library boxes you see around town, only this box swaps food and personal care items.

The Community Cupboard was installed on the south side of Coal Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets in late January 2017.

We didn’t know what to expect. We asked ourselves Will people use it? We think so. Will others contribute? We hope so.

What we’ve found is heartening. The cupboard assists numerous neighbors on a daily basis and generous donations come in nearly as quickly as items are taken.  It has turned out to be a very useful addition to our downtown neighborhood and we’d like to see cupboards crop up in other parts of town.

If you’re interested in building and installing one, email us. We’re happy to answer questions and we’d also like to know where the cupboard will be so we can add the location to the Community Cupboard map.

Hunger in Albuquerque

Did you know nearly 16% of Bernalillo County residents are food insecure?

Of these:

  • Almost 90% live in permanent housing like a home or an apartment.
  • 48% choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage and 19% of the group makes this tough choice every month.
  • 61% choose between paying for food and utilities every month and 33% of this group makes this tough choice every month.
  • 59% choose between medical care/medicine at least once in the past year and 44% said they have medical bills to pay.
  • While many low income New Mexicans receive assistance through SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) benefits, it isn’t enough to cover all their food needs.

Source: A 2014 study conducted by Feeding America (the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization), the New Mexico Association of Food Banks and Roadrunner Food Bank.

Community Cupboard Map

Build A Cupboard

Your neighborhood might benefit from a Community Cupboard. Interested in sponsoring one? Here are some resources to help you get started, from building and installing the cupboard to easily managing it.

Check local zoning and/or HOA rules

We recommend you check to see if installing one is allowed in your area before you commit to the project.

Design and construction resources

Okay it’s built, now what?

Stock the cupboard. When we started ours, we funded the first 2 or 3 weeks of items, then the neighbors slowly started adding items to the cupboard (now the donations come in regularly). Take a look at our flyer (link below) for ideas on items to start with.

Get the word out

Make your box noticeable and clearly state its purpose. We put an information flyer inside the cupboard (feel free to modify our sample and make your own). This was all we needed to do to start drawing attention to the cupboard. We live on a busy street so a lot of people see it everyday, including a local news reporter who stopped by recently to do a brief story on it.

If you don’t live on a busy street, you may need to do more to get the word out. Consider hanging flyers in neighborhood businesses. Notify the local news, neighborhood associations, and your local schools (child hunger is unfortunately so prevalent).

Email us and let us know where the cupboard is and we’ll put it on the Community Cupboard map

Monitor the cupboard

How often you’ll do this will depend on the level of use. We monitor ours a couple of times a day when we’re in town. We will ask neighbors to step in for us when we leave town. Monitoring for us includes removing items when the box gets too full (we have a closet shelf reserved for surplus) and adding items as needed. Occasionally, you may want to organize items, although we’ve found both donors and recipients do a good job of that. It seems the whole neighborhood takes pride in the project.