Author Archives: Donna Marlow
A big part of my job as a development professional is going out into the community and talking with people about the work of Roadrunner and the people we serve. When I am out doing these talks, I often play the part of presenter and myth buster as there are so many myths when it comes to hunger, why it exists and who is hungry. The face of a hungry person and the reason people struggle with hunger are surprising to many. I wanted to take some time to write about three common myths regarding our work and give you the facts. Myth: Most of the people experiencing hunger are homeless. Fact: In the past the face of hunger was easily associated with a homeless individual, perhaps a man or woman standing on a street corner with a sign that reads “Will work for Food.” In reality, the homeless population accounts for a very small percentage of the nearly 40,000 people we serve weekly, only about 8%. This means that the remaining 92% of the people we serve are living in homes or an apartment. They pay mortgages or rent along with their other monthly expenses, but they don’t have the resources to make ends meet. A big majority of our total distribution goes not to the homeless but to vulnerable populations such as children and seniors. Almost half or 40% of the people we serve are children and 13% are seniors. Another interesting fact is that nearly one third of the households receiving food from Roadrunner include someone who is working.
When I was in college, I never dreamed that I would end up in a career as a professional fundraiser. To be completely honest, I didn’t know that that profession even existed. I thought I would be an attorney, and had big plans to go on to law school after graduation. I took a year off to study for the LSAT and took a job as a legal secretary at a law firm to get a feel for what the profession of law was all about. After a few months of working as a legal secretary, I realized that being an attorney wasn’t for me. I realized that it took a long time to make real social change through the legal system and I didn’t know if I had the patience for that. I wanted to be part of something that was greater than myself… to make an impact and create social change for the better TODAY, not years from now. Eight years after graduation, I now find myself in a position that does just that, albeit in an indirect way. My job as a fundraiser is fulfilling in many ways. It allows me to spread the word about the amazing work that Roadrunner does and be a voice and advocate for a forgotten and voiceless community… the hungry people living throughout New Mexico. My job as a fundraiser allows me to dispel myths (and there are many) about who is hungry and communicate the devastating and long lasting effects of hunger on a person and community. My job as a fundraiser allows me to inspire others to give a portion of their hard-earned income to help feed our hungry neighbors and create a better more vibrant community. This is perhaps the most interesting and challenging aspect of my work as a fundraiser. I have often wondered what it is that motivates people to give away their hard earned money for little or nothing in return, and a big part of my job is to figure out just that.