Be Part of the Solution

On May 2, my heart sank when I saw the Albuquerque Journal headline “Children May Lose Free School Meals.” It reminded me that unfortunately, hunger is a very real issue in our state and one that threatens our community’s future.

According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap 2014 report, New Mexico is the most food-insecure state in the country when it comes to children.  More than 380,000 people are at risk of hunger, and what’s worse is that 150,000 of them are children. Almost 30% or one in three children are at risk of hunger. These aren’t statistics that bode well for our schools, health systems or local economy.

Research shows that children who don’t get enough to eat don’t perform well in school. They’re less likely to graduate from high school or go to college, and they’re more likely to get sick. This combination of challenges might keep these children from ever being able to provide for their own families.

Luckily, there’s a lot we can do to try and break this cycle. Hunger is a fixable problem, and in Albuquerque, organizations like Roadrunner Food Bank regularly host fundraisers and events that allow us to be part of the solution.

One such event, Stamp Out Hunger, is happening on Saturday, May 10. This food drive is held by the National Association of Letter Carriers, the US Postal Service and Campbell’s and so many other national partners.  The single-day food drive is one of the largest in the United States with more than 10,000 communities participating. In Albuquerque, food collected will benefit Roadrunner and will go toward feeding hungry people in our state.

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(Letter carrier vehicles backing up to unload food donations at a post office)

It’s really easy to participate. Simply fill a sturdy bag with non-perishable food items like canned soup, canned fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, pasta, rice and boxed cereal. Leave it by your mailbox and your letter carrier will take care of the rest.

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In 2013, the food drive raised nearly 195,000 pounds of food.  I hope that this year, that number is even higher. Join me and spread the word. Let’s see if we can raise more than 200,000 pounds of food during Stamp Out Hunger 2014!   And, thank your letter carrier too!

Annemarie Ciepiela Henton is a volunteer of Roadrunner Food Bank serving on the Communications Committee.



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