Author Archives: Stephanie Miller
A few years ago the Rotary Club of Albuquerque Rio Grande approached us about supporting our Food for Kids backpack program. While many generous donors make much-needed gifts to this program, they wanted to do more than just give money. They really wanted to get involved with a particular school. I think their support and involvement is a great model for others. A shocking 40% of all the people we serve are children. Child food insecurity in our state is 7% above the national rate of 21.6%. One way we reach children is through our Food for Kids backpack program. We send home a backpack of non-perishable, kid-friendly food with 3,495 elementary school children every Friday during the school year. These kids are getting lunch at school, but on the weekends they don’t, so too often they come to school on Monday hungry, upset and unable to enjoy school. The Rotary Club of Albuquerque Rio Grande said they wanted to work with a school in the South Valley by tying their $11,000 gift for Food for Kids to volunteer time. We suggested Navajo Elementary; a school that has been in the program since 2006 and receives 112 backpacks per week. We put them in touch with the Food for Kids coordinator at the school. Since 2011, their Rotary Club members have installed playground equipment including four-square courts. They’ve brought the kids exercise equipment like jump ropes and soccer balls. Ryan Jaseph, a club member says that their volunteer times at the school have been some of their most popular events. Ryan said, “Every time we’re at the school we can see how much these kids appreciate and need our support. As a club we’re really hands on so this has been a great partnership.” Navajo Elementary is lucky to be involved with this great group of supporters, but there are 40 other Food for Kids schools that have not been “adopted.” If you are a member of a group that might be interested in adopting a school, please give me a call at 349-8678 or email me at email@example.com. Stephanie Miller is the Director of Development for Roadrunner Food Bank.
When most people think of philanthropy, they think of big-name foundations and corporations as the “heavy hitters.” They assume that the bulk of charitable giving comes from large organizations and businesses. We are all used to seeing corporate logos displayed at fundraising events, on materials, and in annual reports, so it makes sense that we assume this. While giving from these donors is vital for social services, arts and education non-profits, it is individuals donors, by far, who represent most of philanthropy here and abroad. In fact, 73% of all philanthropy nationally is comprised of individual and household donors – donors just like you and I who enjoy supporting causes that are close to our hearts. When organizational and individual donors come together, however, the results can be especially powerful. Many of us, for example, have picked one product at the grocery store over another because we know that company gives some of its profits to a good cause. During the month of December, PNM is matching donor gifts up to $32,000. We think this is a beautiful example of how an organizational donor can complement individual giving. PNM’s match basically doubles the impact of a charitable dollar, and because Roadrunner can distribute five meals for every dollar raised, the impact is even more impressive. To give to Roadrunner Food Bank this month and participate in PNM’s generous match, go to www.rrfb.org/PNM. Thanks to a gift from PNM, your gift will go twice as far. Stephanie Miller is the Director of Development at Roadrunner Food Bank.
Food banks across the country use the terms “hunger” and “food insecurity” pretty much interchangeably when explaining their work, but they actually have different meanings. Every year the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service issues the rates of food insecurity by state. Very low food security, as they define it, is “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.” In other words, it describes a household situation, usually due to lack of money, whether that household is one person or ten. Until 2006, the USDA used the term “food insecurity with hunger” for this very same measure. Why did they drop the word “hunger?” Isn’t “hunger” more direct, as opposed to “food insecurity,” which sounds like a bland euphemism? Are they trying to make us think there isn’t hunger in America?