Monthly Archives: April 2013
For many non-profits, volunteers are viewed the backbone of the organization. Roadrunner’s volunteers are viewed in this same way. They put in thousandss upon thousands of hours and dedicate themselves to a cause that they truly care about. In the United States, 83.9 million adults volunteer and their contribution is worth over $239 billion! Volunteering in America has a long legacy that dates back more than a hundred years. Today, I wanted to share information that I found about the history of volunteering here in America. How Volunteering Began In the early 19th century, few formal charitable organizations existed to help people in need. Because the wealthy were not obligated to give back to the poor, in Tudor England the government began to charge a tax on landowners and used this to help the poor. Farmers would also pitch in to help each other with large projects like raising a barn.
Despite the fact that I work at a Food Bank, it still amazes me that so many people in America struggle with hunger daily. How can we be one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world, yet people living in America are literally starving? What makes me even more upset is the fact that there are thousands of American children that don’t have access to enough food. It just doesn’t seem right that a child living in “the greatest county in the world” would go to bed hungry. I think about my childhood and how fortunate I was growing up. Of course, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was truly very fortunate to have the food I needed to learn and develop properly. It never occurred to me that there were children out there, children just like me, who weren’t getting enough to eat. It wasn’t until I was much older when I realized that hunger was a serious problem in America, not only for the homeless folks living on the streets, but for working families, seniors and children. Unfortunately, for tens of thousands of children living in New Mexico, this realization comes a lot earlier than it did for me. The realization comes much earlier for them because they are the ones who are hungry.
Once every year I request client stories from our Mobile Food Pantry sites. These are the stories you all hear, read, and talk about when discussing what food insecurity looks like for our clients across the state. When I read them, I see the common trend of job loss, homelessness, grandparents raising grandchildren, and choosing between rent and food. However, this last time, I realized there is a hidden tale within the client stories, and one we do not talk about as often. It’s the story of our site volunteers. They take the time and energy to coordinate the distribution, find additional volunteer help, secure a distribution site and on and on to ensure that client’s right in their own backyard have access to food. Many of them have full-time jobs or other commitments, but they always find the time to lend a hand. And each client story sent to me is not just the story of the individual being helped, but written by a volunteer telling a story. It is written from their own perspective and conveyed with their own emotions about helping the hungry. You read and witness through their own words the commitment and the impact these volunteers have in our community.
During political campaigns we are all encouraged to “get out and vote” (or “rock the vote” for the younger generation) and during these campaigns we all have had that moment when we wonder “Does my vote really make a difference?” Well, now you have a chance to vote for something local and, yes, your vote will make the difference! Roadrunner Food Bank has submitted a proposal to Walmart’s Fighting Hunger Together campaign for the Roadrunner Food Bank’s Food for Kids Program. When I visited the food bank, this was one of the programs that really hit home for me. My mom was an elementary school teacher for 25 years and she saw many children with great potential who didn’t have enough to eat and how it impacted their education and daily lives.