In a fast-paced, buzzing holiday season as we tend to celebrate in the United States, we give a lot of mentions (if not lip service) to the “lofty” ideals of charity, generosity and another G-word: gratitude. Yet, at Roadrunner, we want to honor, take seriously, and live out all three of these ideals. We would love nothing more than to demonstrate how these “lofty” ideals are perhaps not so lofty; in that, anyone regardless of socioeconomic background, of wealth can live out these ideals daily. At Roadrunner, we find ourselves incredibly fortunate to have the mission and platform of conveying these values among our staff, our volunteers, our clients, and the broader community we serve.
When you work in an organization like Roadrunner whose mission is to relieve human suffering of all kinds (hunger, homelessness, and more), you need to find silver linings in sadder news. Recently, the National Center on Family Homelessness issued a report, “America’s Youngest Outcasts.” The report concluded that there were over 2.5 million homeless children nationally in 2013, with childhood homelessness across the United States increasing over 8 percent in one year. Of all 50 states, New Mexico ranks 46th in childhood homelessness, only 4 states ahead than the lowest nationally. We at Roadrunner know childhood homelessness places a greater impact on our already high childhood hunger rates, too. Instead of staying in frustration and sadness, though, we choose the route of working harder to feed all of our hungry clients, including our hungry children. They are counting on us.
Below are some examples in recent weeks of charity, generosity, and gratitude we have expressed and/or witnessed.
We are grateful for all our volunteers, including those volunteers whose day jobs are in education. On November 14th, a crew of teachers from Our Lady of Annunciation Catholic School here in Albuquerque helped sort produce in advance of our increasing holiday food demands. To extend their work from teaching values of diligence, integrity, and service to practicing them on our Roadrunner warehouse floor proved awe-inspiring. Our Lady of Annunciation Catholic School teachers and other volunteers sustain our operations of feeding the hungry throughout the holiday season and year-round.
We at Roadrunner couldn’t imagine where we would be without the generosity of our faith community partners. On November 17th, Clyde Stanfield and other members from St. John’s United Methodist Church here in Albuquerque came by to donate over 1,000 pounds of foodstuffs to Roadrunner. As much as we aim to supply our food agency partners with consistent food distribution, we are more than grateful and honored to also receive donations from these partners. It just goes to show how important collaboration in feeding New Mexico’s hungriest proves to be.
We are grateful to host organizations whose volunteers not only grow and raise nourishing food as day jobs, but who also step up their efforts by helping us sort food here. On November 20th, not only did the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau (NMFLB) donate over 1,000 pounds of pinto beans and other foodstuffs to us and give us $1,650 to sustain our operations. Some 40 NMFLB members also volunteered in our warehouse, performing tasks which ranged from repackaging over 1,000 pounds of cereal to sorting potatoes and mounds of produce. As NMFLB member Boe Lopez shared during his time here, “We’re glad to return to Roadrunner, as it was a rewarding experience volunteering last year and there are no doubt food needs to fill.”
We are grateful for acts of creativity and generosity from the people we serve. During our November 12th Mobile Food Pantry at Lomas & Edith, one of our clients, Dennis Gray, said he wanted to write something for Roadrunner. In less than 24 hours, he sent us this beautiful poem which highlights what we strive to do every day: To leave no one hungry anymore.
Today At Roadrunner Food Bank
“I went to the wonderful Roadrunner Delivery today.
Dragging my rolling suitcase along my merry way.
There was over 100 people there that I could see,
And I volunteered, which was great for me.
Suddenly 18 to 20 kids did appear
And at each table, stood to the rear.
All in pilgrims hats and handing out food.
Each one with a smile and not one was rude.
Every month this food bank is always open,
And like most of you, I am always hopin’,
To be in a better place to help myself,
And buy my own food to stock my shelf.
Until then I will run down the road,
And thank Roadrunner for lightening the load.
On my fixed income I am mostly poor,
But I am not ever hungry. Not anymore.”
So, as Thanksgiving and Christmas rush by into the New Year of 2015, let us challenge ourselves and extend our vision of charity, generosity and gratitude to go beyond the holidays. Roadrunner Food Bank and its staff and volunteers strive to do so now. We only wish to share out these ideals while feeding as many hungry New Mexicans as we can. Will you join us?
For more information on how you can donate or give to sustain us, visit our website at www.rrfb.org. To witness more examples of gratitude through the season, “like” us on Facebook at “Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico”; or, you can follow us on Instagram at “Roadrunner Food Bank” or on Twitter at “@Roadrunner Fd Bnk.” Thank you all!