Monthly Archives: November 2013
Thanksgiving brings thoughts of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. But for seniors and other hungry people in our state, having ANY food to eat is a blessing. In fact, when our food referral phone line rings off the hook this time of year, it is from callers around the community and state asking for help with regular grocery items from people completely out of food. They are grateful for any help and take whatever food we and our network of agencies are able to provide to them. This year, with some additional funding from the Walmart Foundation, many of our most vulnerable seniors will have access to food programs from Roadrunner Food Bank. The Walmart Foundation provided additional funding this year to increase the number of Senior Helpings sites and senior specific Mobile Food Pantries based in southwestern New Mexico to help low-income seniors.
“I’m sorry, we’re out of food.” The volunteer at the food pantry registration table wasn’t trying to be cold or harsh. It was a statement of fact. They had ordered food for about 80 households and they had already served about 85. “There’s nothing left?” A young woman with brown hair asked. “Nothing left at all?” The young woman with brown hair stepped away from the table. She folded her arms and began pacing. She looked worried. She started to cry. “Miss, are you okay?” A dark haired woman called out. There was no response. “Hey, come talk to me.” “I don’t want to talk about it. They said they are out of food, and I couldn’t get here any earlier because of the stupid bus. I don’t know what I’m going to feed my kids tonight. But, I don’t want to talk about it. I’m just upset.”
It is becoming too easy to forget Veteran’s Day. One of the downfall’s of an all-volunteer military is that people in many walks of life don’t even know someone who served. What should be a day of honoring sacrifice becomes a day off from work or a day you wish you had off. My father was Vietnam veteran. If he were around, he probably wouldn’t want me writing about it. But, sometimes he’d tell me things about the war. Fishing trips with my Dad and my uncles who had been there really brought out the stories. He was the first to say that he was one of the lucky ones, and the real heroes didn’t come home. When Roadrunner started the SNAP Outreach program, one of the “target populations” I wanted to work with was Veterans. The idea that people who offered years of their life to serve our country are now going hungry in it is unacceptable. Once a month, I have the opportunity to go down to the Veteran’s Administration. I’ll help men and women fill out the application for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps. But, it doesn’t have to be at the VA. I’ve met many, many vets standing in line at food pantries around the state. Sometimes, they’re easy to spot in a crowd; a fatigue jacket, a USMC tattoo, or an Air Calvary button on a cowboy hat.
As the smell of green chili leaves the air and the final leaves fall from the trees, we prepare for the holiday season, our busiest time of the year. Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and we are working longer hours and hustling hard to make sure we have enough food in our inventory to meet the increasing needs for struggling families this holiday season. Working at a Food Bank gives us a different perspective when it comes to Thanksgiving. For our staff here at Roadrunner, Thanksgiving means a day off after a 10 day stretch to ensure we can obtain and distribute food for our hungry neighbors this holiday season. And as we sit down to eat and enjoy time with our families, in the back of our minds, we know there are thousands of New Mexicans out there who aren’t worried about overcooking the turkey or making sure there aren’t any lumps in the mashed potatoes… they worry about having food on their table.