History of Taos Feeds Taos, 30th Anniversary, 1986-2015 Prepared by: Francis Cordova

1986 was the beginning of what became an annual event for Taos Feeds Taos. It was a vision that Jim Ulmer had to help the less fortunate. Mr. Ulmer came to see 1SG Francis A. Cordova at the National Guard Armory that was on Blueberry Hill to ask what he thought and what would it take to utilize the building. 1SG Cordova and Mr. Ulmer took a trip to Santa Fe National Guard Headquarters to visit with General Edward D. Baca and ask for the use of the facilities and equipment. General Baca was extremely excited, honored, and happy that one of his units would want to undertake such a task. With his blessing Jim Ulmer's vision began.

Jim Ulmer was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and he asked his comrades for help. They were VFW Commander Lawrence Vargas, Kiwanian President Jim Oakeley and they helped Jim and Francis distribute food to the needy. That first year 300 baskets were given. By 1988 500 baskets were distributed and we see the project growing.

In 1992 Jim Ulmer's health was failing and Kiwanian Felix Trujillo and his wife Alice along with other volunteers took on the project. The project continued to grow with the efforts of a lot of volunteers. In those days the group would stand in front of the Grocery Stores and ask for donations. Through cold and freezing days, these volunteers would give of their time to make it happen.

In 1997 Felix and Alice Trujillo called it quits. Town of Taos Manager Gustavo Cordova gathered a committee of concerned citizens to take over the Taos Feeds Taos project. Among the volunteers were 1SG Francis A. Cordova and his wife Ernestina, Eloy Jeantete, (three that were part of the original group), John Otis, Cheryl Hyland, Robert Gonzales and others. That year with the all the help that they were able to get, the project actually was able to serve 300 people with baskets within a two week period. Talk about miracles - those angels were there with wings opened enfolding all the volunteers. In 1998 Taos Feeds Taos became a 501c(3) non-profit organization.

Things are moving on up and the Taos Unit of the NM Armory National Guard got a brand new facility and so does Taos Feeds Taos. In 2000, it was wonderful to be in such a warm and beautiful facility. The board started to ask the schools to entertain with their Marachi group. The Culinary Class comes to provide help to feed the volunteers on the first day of distribution. This year for the 30th anniversary the Chorus Class will participate and sing the National Anthem. Now it is traditional for Taos Feeds Taos to have Marachis and participation from the schools.

After 2004 when the 1115th Transportation Unit was deployed, Kit Carson Electric came forward and started helping by preparing boxes and picking up groceries and today Kit Carson Electric is part of Taos Feeds Taos. Thank you Kit Carson.

Today we have a new board which are the following: Francis Cordova,(Ret)1SG, President, Louise Padilla, VP, Eloy Jeantete, Treas, Linda Knief, Secretary, Anita Bringas, Andrea Chavez, Ernestina Cordova, Mary Jeantete, Bill Knief, Pauline Mondragon, Mary Trujillo Mascarenas, Janet Webb, Judy Weinrobe. Original members still going at 30 years are General Edward Baca, Francis Cordova and Eloy Jeantete.

Memories of Taos Feeds Taos' First Year
Quotes from Lieutenant General USA (retired) Edward D. Baca

Back in 1986 I was head of the New Mexico National Guard. At that time the guard was focused on being prepared for war. When the cold war ended, my vision was to integrate the guard back into their communities, to serve the people they lived with. When Francis (Cordova) and Jim (Ulmer) approached me about using the guardsmen, the armory, and our vehicles to collect and distribute food to the needy in Taos County, I saw the perfect opportunity to accomplish all of our goals. Since that first year, whenever I travel to other states and interact with other National Guard units, I cite Taos as a model for good soldiering. Taos Feed Taos is an example of how the guard can, and should, interact with their community. By the way, each guardsman is participating totally on a volunteer basis.