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.
I could see the faces of all of the donors as the Governor spoke, and I could tell that they were proud that they have a chance in their daily work to be part of something so important. The part of Governor Martinez’s speech that touched me the most was her mentioning the importance of a partnership between the state of New Mexico and Roadrunner Food Bank and other organizations doing this work.
Thank you banners unveiled honoring Food Rescue Partners during the event’s program
With 40,000 New Mexicans seeking help with food every single week, the hunger problem in our state is clearly daunting. It is utterly obvious that no single approach or organization is going to spell the end to hunger of this magnitude. Public/private partnerships of all kinds will ultimately help us find the high impact, out-of-the-box solutions that will truly change the lives of our hungry neighbors now and into the future.
We already partner with government at all levels (city, county, state and federal), with private businesses like our food donor companies, with thousands of individual and corporate donors and volunteers, and with hundreds of other organizations that see to it that food from the food bank gets safely and efficiently into the hands of hungry people. We have many exciting ideas about how we can strengthen our existing partnerships and forge some new ones to benefit hungry people. Please visit us regularly to learn more about these partnerships as they develop. We’re excited about the possibilities and we think you will be too.
Melody Wattenbarger is the President and CEO of Roadrunner Food Bank.