Plates For Pathways Event Mar. 28 To Raise Funds For Espanola Pathways Shelter For The Homeless

0033Organizers of the Mar. 28 Plates for Pathways event benefiting the Espanola Pathways Shelter are, from left, EPS chair Ralph Martinez, Chef Fernando Ruiz and artist Tony Morfin. Not pictured is Roger Montoya of Moving Arts Espanola. Courtesy photo


Artists Toby Morfin, left, and Alyssa Lucero paint plates Sunday at Firebox Studios/Santa Fe Clay for Plates for Pathways. Photo by Maire O’Neill/


Imagine going to a dinner where the food is prepared by a celebrity chef, served on plates painted by renowned artists from throughout Northern New Mexico and with ingredients that include “Space Chile”, grown by NASA at Cape Canaveral.

On Saturday, Mar. 28, Chef Fernando Ruiz, artist Toby Morfin and NASA research scientist Jacob Torres will join with Ralph Martinez and Roger Montoya to present Plates for Pathways, an exclusive fundraiser for the Espanola Pathways Shelter (EPS) to be held at La Fonda del Sol at the Delta in Espanola.

Tickets for the event are $250 each and only 60 seats are available. An opening reception starts at 5 p.m. with dinner from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Chef Ruiz has been featured on television’s Guys Grocery Games, Chopped, and Beat Bobby Flay. Morfin, who is from La Mesilla, engaged and curated the work of almost 60 artists to participate in the Plates for Pathways project. A self-taught artist, his work is known throughout the region.

Torres, an Espanola native, is a research scientist at Cape Canaveral who is donating the Espanola Improved green chile he has grown in NASA’s Advanced Plant Habitat. The pepper is a cross between Hatch chile and the traditional Espanola pepper.

Martinez and Montoya are the two original champions of the Espanola Pathways Shelter which is now in its first phase, an emergency warming center that opened Jan. 4 and has been bringing up to 10 homeless people in from the bitterly cold temperatures since. The second phase, which includes plans for further program development, community collaboration and other critical shelter implementation requirements, is underway with an anticipated start date of April 1. Funds raised from the Mar. 28 event will be used for required renovations of the building EPS has leased at 628 N. Riverside Drive which are currently underway.

In addition to immediate shelter, the shelter will provide supportive services including connections to substance use disorder treatment, more permanent housing and workforce development opportunities. EPS is one a number of collaborators that includes local government officials, educational institutions, medical service providers and community organizations who are joining together in what is being called “Rio Arriba Rising”.

The Plates for Pathways project has involved several Espanola restaurants who have hosted fundraising events at their businesses over the last few months donating a percentage of their intake to EPS. Business owners may still sign up to participate in this project which has been embraced by the community. Area restaurants have also taken hot food to the shelter in the evenings for guests, staff and volunteers.

To purchase tickets, call Roger Montoya, (505) 927-0108 or in Los Alamos, call Maire O’Neill, (505) 412-8739.