Incorporated on May 4, 1990, St. Luke’s opened its doors on January 3, 1991 with Dr. Stanislaus Ting as the first volunteer medical director. Our birth led to bigger dreams that blossomed in 1994 into the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope (MVCH) campus on Amador Avenue in Las Cruces. Today, the campus is home to five non-profit agencies who provide services and programs to the homeless and indigent in Dona Ana County. In 1998, the campus’ first phase featured three anchor agencies – El Caldito Soup Kitchen, St. Luke’s, and a family shelter.
In 2001, Phase 2 housed Jardín de los Niños – a day care center for children who are homeless. In 2005, Phase 3 built three adjoining buildings, which houses Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Bank and the MVCH outreach, day shelter, and housing services and programs. MVCH’s day shelter services offer showers, laundry facilities, lockers, and postal services as well as help with disability benefits applications and assistance with housing programs including Camp Hope, a nearby residential tent city.
Each day, about 100 people use MVCH’s services; these people are in various states of homeless such as living in cars, staying at the nearby mission, living in Camp Hope, on the streets or in drainage ditches. Daily, the soup kitchen serves lunch to as many as 225 people and hundreds of families pick up emergency food boxes each week at the emergency food bank. Jardín de los Niños has about 55 children between 6 weeks to 5 years of age on any given day.
We are a vital component of the campus, making healthcare easier to access in a holistic, caring environment. Recently, we took over the former family shelter, which closed in 2005, and are in the process of renovating the 7,000 sq. feet space to include medical, dental, and behavioral health in a comprehensive setting. SLHCC averages about 40 visits on clinic days and 10-20 visits on non-clinic days. This is almost 5,000 visits per year for about 500 patients.