Author Archives: Sonya Warwick
Giving back comes in so many forms. Whether one gives monetarily, or gives in terms of hours served, it all adds up cumulatively to make a difference for non-profits and the people they serve. And at Roadrunner Food Bank it is no different. Last year, about 12,000 people took the time to come and volunteer here at the Food Bank at least once. Many come three or four times a week, donating tens of thousands of hours of service over the course of a year to make our mission a reality for hungry people across the state who count on the Food Bank for meals for their families. One group that we don’t talk about enough is our corporate volunteers.
For the second year in a row, New Mexico ranks #1 for childhood hunger. The 2014 release of Map the Meal Gap shows the childhood hunger rate in New Mexico is 29.2% with one in three children growing up hungry. The report shows that more than 150,000 New Mexico children are at risk of hunger. Melody Wattenbarger, president and CEO of Roadrunner Food Bank said, “This should be a wakeup call for everyone in our state. Until we make sure that our children aren’t going to school hungry, we won’t be able to solve any of the other problems we have. If you look at indicators like our children’s abysmal test scores, health, graduation rates and future wages, childhood hunger underpins them all. Agencies like ours can’t address this issue alone. It’s a statewide problem. It needs a statewide response.” Over the past four years, Roadrunner Food Bank’s national organization, Feeding America, has released the annual study to measure hunger and the gap of meals by state and county. New Mexico is fourth in overall hunger among states, tied with Alabama and North Carolina. 18.6% of people in New Mexico are at risk of experiencing hunger in New Mexico overall. Nationwide, the hunger rate is 15.9%. The annual Map the Meal Gap report also estimates the meal gap by state and county and the food budget shortfall for low-income households. In 2014, the report showed New Mexico’s meal gap is 67,795,200 translating into a food budget shortfall of $175,675,500. The average cost per meal in New Mexico is $2.59 according to the report. The top five New Mexico counties with the highest rates of hunger overall and for children are below. Luna County ranked as the hungriest county in New Mexico for both children and the overall population: Children Luna – 39.7% Taos – 32.6% Cibola – 32.4% McKinley – 32.2% Overall Population Luna – 22.9% McKinley – 22.2% Cibola – 18.3% Sierra – 18% Roosevelt and San Juan – 17.7% To Map the Meal Gap in any New Mexico County, visit www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.
Mark May 6 on your calendar! As a way to commemorate 100 years of community foundations and to celebrate giving, hundreds of non-profits are joining together encouraging our New Mexico community to give a gift on the same day…May 6. To make this day a success, we need your help. Please give and help spread the about giving to your networks on social media, email, your website, or texting 10 friends to join you in this special day of giving. Every invitation you make helps spread the word and encourages philanthropy in our community.
Earlier this month, the USDA announced it will provide additional support to hunger relief organizations by purchasing up to $126.4 million worth of produce to be distributed through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) across the United States. The food is supplied to states for distribution through food banks and their network of partner agencies. With the expected influx of produce, USDA Regional Administrator William Ludwig felt it was important to visit states experiencing elevated hunger. Ludwig visited Roadrunner Food Bank on Monday, January 13th. Ludwig oversees 15 federal nutrition assistance programs in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
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.