We recently hired a gentleman in his 50s to work in our warehouse. You are probably thinking that is something that happens fairly regularly, and you are correct in thinking that. What made this hire so special is that the man we hired had not had regular work or a place of his own to live in for many years. Now that he works for us, he has been able to get his own place, and he is very, very grateful. We hired him after he worked for us as a temp for a while. We were able to see first-hand how incredibly reliable and hardworking he is, so we hired him for our first available permanent position.
The sad fact is that if we had not known him as a temp, he would simply not have come on our radar. If he had just applied within a pool of job seekers, we would not have selected him for an interview. He just doesn’t have the education or experience of many of the other people looking to work for us. And in passing him over, we would have missed out on a truly amazing employee, and he would have missed his chance for independence, self-reliance and restored self-esteem. How sad that missed chance would have been for all of us! (more…)
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. (more…)
“I’m sorry, we’re out of food.”
The volunteer at the food pantry registration table wasn’t trying to be cold or harsh. It was a statement of fact. They had ordered food for about 80 households and they had already served about 85.
“There’s nothing left?” A young woman with brown hair asked. “Nothing left at all?”
The young woman with brown hair stepped away from the table. She folded her arms and began pacing. She looked worried. She started to cry.
“Miss, are you okay?” A dark haired woman called out. There was no response. “Hey, come talk to me.”
“I don’t want to talk about it. They said they are out of food, and I couldn’t get here any earlier because of the stupid bus. I don’t know what I’m going to feed my kids tonight. But, I don’t want to talk about it. I’m just upset.” (more…)
It is becoming too easy to forget Veteran’s Day. One of the downfall’s of an all-volunteer military is that people in many walks of life don’t even know someone who served. What should be a day of honoring sacrifice becomes a day off from work or a day you wish you had off.
My father was Vietnam veteran. If he were around, he probably wouldn’t want me writing about it. But, sometimes he’d tell me things about the war. Fishing trips with my Dad and my uncles who had been there really brought out the stories. He was the first to say that he was one of the lucky ones, and the real heroes didn’t come home.
When Roadrunner started the SNAP Outreach program, one of the “target populations” I wanted to work with was Veterans. The idea that people who offered years of their life to serve our country are now going hungry in it is unacceptable. Once a month, I have the opportunity to go down to the Veteran’s Administration. I’ll help men and women fill out the application for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps. But, it doesn’t have to be at the VA. I’ve met many, many vets standing in line at food pantries around the state. Sometimes, they’re easy to spot in a crowd; a fatigue jacket, a USMC tattoo, or an Air Calvary button on a cowboy hat. (more…)
As the smell of green chili leaves the air and the final leaves fall from the trees, we prepare for the holiday season, our busiest time of the year. Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and we are working longer hours and hustling hard to make sure we have enough food in our inventory to meet the increasing needs for struggling families this holiday season. Working at a Food Bank gives us a different perspective when it comes to Thanksgiving. For our staff here at Roadrunner, Thanksgiving means a day off after a 10 day stretch to ensure we can obtain and distribute food for our hungry neighbors this holiday season. And as we sit down to eat and enjoy time with our families, in the back of our minds, we know there are thousands of New Mexicans out there who aren’t worried about overcooking the turkey or making sure there aren’t any lumps in the mashed potatoes… they worry about having food on their table. (more…)
Working at Roadrunner Food Bank gives me the opportunity to see multiple acts of kindness every day. For example, this past Friday and Saturday we welcomed 600 volunteers over two days for Make a Difference Day. We had people not only repacking rice, beans and cereal, but also doing things like cleaning our trucks and raking up fall leaves in our parking lot. Everyone was industrious, cheerful and willing to roll up their sleeves for us.
This is an annual, city-wide event that is a big deal for us each year because we rely on volunteers to make our work possible.
(picture of volunteers repacking bulk items at the Food Bank)
The other day I was thinking, “How can my family or others help give back to the community or maybe collect food?” Well, come to find out there are so many ways to help give back. Here’s an example of how one family is giving back this Halloween.
Let me introduce you to The Worrell Family. Each year they spend days and days as well as uncounted hours getting their house just perfect for some Halloween fun. Yup, they love to celebrate Halloween and host a “fright night” on All Hallows Eve. One unique twist to their annual fright night this year is asking trick or treaters to bring food as a donation for Roadrunner Food Bank.
Last year, was a record year of service thanks to an army of people in our community that give us a precious gift…time. More than 12,200 people volunteered in our warehouse at least once (some two or three times a week) to help us prep food for distribution. Other volunteers helped us in community based activities such as executing our Hunger Study, educating people about SNAP (food stamp benefits) and many other duties that help us in our work. The 12,200 volunteers also contributed a record number of service hours to the Food Bank last year totaling more than 85,000 volunteer hours!
We are honored and grateful for every volunteer, and every minute of service provided. Volunteers are the reason we are able to distribute almost 100,000 pounds of food a day, and why we were able to distribute a record number of pounds…26.6 million last year. As volunteers, you are a tremendous resource and there is no way we could distribute the volumes of food our hungry neighbors rely on every day without your gift of service. (more…)
You can play an important role in solving hunger by hosting an Online Food & Fund Drive.
During the holiday season we invite the community to get involved by helping us raise awareness and take action to solve hunger in New Mexico. The outpouring of support brings the necessary donations of food and money as well as hope to tens of thousands of people in need of food assistance.
It’s that time of year again, when we ask YOU to get involved, take action, and feed hungry people.
Be a part of the solution to ending hunger this holiday season by hosting an Online Holiday Food & Fund Drive. The new website is a fun and interactive opportunity for groups of any size or individuals with a passion for ending hunger to raise funds to buy food. (more…)
Roadrunner just wouldn’t exist without our dozens of food industry donors. Day after day they donate food that they can’t sell for a variety of reasons. Over the course of the year it adds up to more than 20 million pounds of food that doesn’t end up in the landfill. That’s really good for the environment. And, more important, that food feeds some of New Mexico’s thousands of hungry people.
Last week we threw a party in our warehouse to say a heartfelt public thank you to the businesses that have helped us fulfill our mission for nearly 34 years. We were truly honored that Governor Susana Martinez took time from her very busy schedule to come to the food bank to help us show our appreciation to our food donors.
Governor Susana Martinez pictured with Dr. Eugene Sun, the Food Bank’s Board Chairman and Melody Wattenbarger, President and CEO of the Food Bank
The Governor spoke to the donors about the hunger she had seen among children in her previous work as a prosecutor. She said that childhood hunger was something that she saw every day. She spoke about the toll that hunger takes on the most vulnerable of our citizens. And she spoke eloquently about our moral imperative to do something about this issue and to raise New Mexico’s standing from worst in the country for childhood hunger.