A Short History of the Food Bank, Founded 1980
The Food Bank’s founder Rev. Titus Scholl created the Food Bank in 1980. Rev. Scholl recognized the tremendous poverty and hunger in our community and wanted to do something about it. After creating the Storehouse (a current agency who receives food from Roadrunner), he discovered the world’s first and newly created St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix. He took their idea of a “bank” of food and ran with it.
The concept of a “bank” of food was completely new in the US at the time, but Rev. Scholl and others who first formed food banks in America were pioneers. They saw firsthand the need in communities and recognized how a food bank could serve as a repository of food and serve
agencies and people who needed help with food.
In fact, in the early 1980’s many food banks in America were founded in response to the growing numbers of hungry. A national organization was started to create a “bond” among these food banks, and many of the first food bank founders such as Rev. Scholl were instrumental in the sharing of ideas. This new national organization formed and called itself America’s Second Harvest (now known as Feeding America). Roadrunner Food Bank became the 40th member to join this new organization.
But those first few years were difficult. It was a challenge to convince food related companies to donate food. In fact, Rev. Scholl traveled around the country to “source” food, and when food was donated, finding transportation to get the food here to New Mexico was a challenge.
Stories have been told by existing staff and board members that Rev. Scholl was so passionate about helping the poor and the hungry, that he used his own personal funds to start the food bank. Other stories have circulated stating that some the initial food distributions were done out of the trunk of a car and consisted of corn on the cob. That is why corn is reflected in the Roadrunner Food Bank logo.
In 1981, the Food Bank found its first home. The first warehouse was located on Edith near Gibson at 1420 Edith Blvd. Today it is the home of the Albuquerque Community Schools Project.
In 1994/95 the Food Bank moved to its second home at 2645 Baylor SE near the airport. The facility allowed us to grow and expand our food distribution to serve agencies that provide food to the hungry and our direct service programs to the hungry people in our community. But expanded distribution growth was difficult due to limited space in our Baylor home forcing the Food Bank to locate to a third home at 5840 Office Blvd. near Jefferson and Singer.
Within 18 months in the new space food distribution increased from 15 million pounds in 2008 to 22 million pounds in 2010. The move to the new home was important to respond to increasing food needs by the growing number of hungry people in our state. From 2008 until today, food agencies are continuing to see increased food demand from the community ranging from 20 to 50 percent. As the economy struggles to improve, high unemployment and underemployment continues to affect our state, and even working families struggle to have enough resources to put food on their table every night.
The link below opens a PDF document providing a more in depth look at the history of Roadrunner Food Bank.
Events of 1980 – The Year Roadrunner Food Bank was Founded
- John Lennon was shot and killed
- The price of gas was $1.00
- The #1 movie in 1980 is Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- In 1980 Mount St. Helen erupts
Timeline of Key Roadrunner Food Bank Dates
1978 Rev. Titus Scholl attends first national Food Bank conference
1979 Albuquerque Metro Ministry Provides Seed Money to Start Roadrunner Food Bank
1980 Food Bank becomes 40th member of America’s Second Harvest (now Feeding America)
1980 Food Bank Founded by Rev. Titus Scholl
1981 Food Bank purchases first building at 1109 Edith Blvd. SE
1981 Buddy Gallegos succeeds Rev. Titus Scholl as Food Bank Director
1985 Food Bank distributes 1 million pounds of food for the first time
1990 Sherry Lee succeeds Buddy Gallegos as Food Bank Director
1994 Windstorm damages roof of the building
1994 Food Bank purchases and moves into second building at 2645 Baylor Ave. SE
1995 Melody Wattenbarger succeeds Sherry Lee as Executive Director
1997 Food Bank begins produce program
1998 Food Bank receives first bequest in its history
2000 Legislature appropriates funds to NM Assoc. of Food Banks to support produce program
2001 Food Bank distributes more than 10 million pounds of food
2001 Food Bank launches Food for Kids backpack program
2003 Food Bank starts Senior Helpings program
2003 TEFAP commodities program responsibilities given to Food Bank
2004 Food Bank holds first A Place at the Table fundraising breakfast
2005 After Hurricane Katrina and Rita, Food Bank takes major role in raising funds to support the crisis
2008 Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry is launched to bring food to rural and needy communities
2009 Food Bank moves into third warehouse located at 5840 Office Blvd.
2010 Food Bank distributes 22 million pounds of food for the first time
2010 First time study – Missing Meals Research presented to the community
2011 Food Bank opens Southern Branch to serve Doña Ana, Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna counties
2011 Roadrunner is responsible for providing food to 16 of 33 counties
2011 Green Initiatives start including recycling, composting, and improved energy efficiencies thank to grants from the community.