New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards 2002
Recognizing Those Committed to Making a Difference
Jim Harlin
Executive director of The Community Pantry, Jim Harlin continues to help people in Gallup, McKinley County, and the surrounding Zuni and Navajo Nations. As a volunteer, he took the organization from an idea a few years ago to one of the state's premier food banks. His efforts have enabled not only hungry people in the county to have access to healthy food, but also allowed needy families throughout the state to benefit from surplus food from Arizona and California.

In March 1999, he organized Gallup residents to form "The Community Pantry"-a food bank dedicated to acquiring, storing, and distributing wholesome food to children, the elderly, and families in need.

  • By the end of that year, Harlin had brought in and distributed approximately 150,000 pounds of fresh produce and 40,000 pounds of dry goods to needy McKinley County residents.
  • In 2000, Harlin obtained and distributed 607,724 pounds of fresh produce and 499,506 pounds of dry goods.
  • By 2001, 472,711 pounds of fresh produce and 307,519 pounds of dry goods were obtained and distributed throughout a three counties (McKinley, Catron, and Cibola) in the state.
All of Harlan's efforts were voluntary until a few months ago, when he was hired part-time to be the executive director of The Community Pantry.

His works include serving as:

  • A board member of the Red Mesa Arts Center, a nationally recognized community arts organization, and.
  • A member of the McKinley Health Alliance, a group dedicated to addressing healthcare issues in McKinley County.
Two years ago, he organized the High Desert Underground, a group of Gallup area artists who work to develop exhibitions and other opportunities for local artists. In addition, he is the founding coordinator of the Gallup Indian Market, scheduled to hold its first market in June 2002.