Making Room At the Table, Part II

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USDA-FNS Undersecretary Kevin Concannon,  Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico, & Morgan Stanley:

Making Room At the Table for Policymakers & Hungry Communities Alike

“The reality of hunger should challenge us to go beyond sanitized words and actions, and should inform our community and our political leadership to continue taking vital steps towards hunger relief across the country.”

This past Tuesday (June 16th) , U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) Undersecretary Kevin Concannon shared these ideas and many others during an exciting, engaging tour here at Roadrunner. As part of an initiative to spread awareness of the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), Mr. Concannon is touring other hunger relief sites in New Mexico and across the country. Such programs as SFSP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and many other food assistance programs fall under Concannon’s leadership.

Alongside Undersecretary Concannon visiting our facilities, more than 20 local Morgan Stanley staff volunteered in one of our repacking rooms, sorting and packaging hundreds of pounds of dried foods. Morgan Stanley exemplifies a corporate partner who continually has supported our hunger relief work in New Mexico, with financial and volunteer contributions alike for years.

Concannon has served in many organizations, including serving as President of the American Public Welfare Association, President of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, and a trustee of the American Public Human Services Association, among other groups.

“It is an honor to show Undersecretary Concannon how we distribute federal food in New Mexico,” Roadrunner President & CEO Melody Wattenbarger noted. “As Congress looks to reauthorize child nutrition programs and additional cuts to SNAP, it is important to show how our role solves hunger for 70,000 New Mexicans weekly alongside federally funded anti-hunger programs.”

Millions of children across the United States enroll in the Summer Food Service Program each year. Over 2 million meals were served to low-income children in New Mexico alone during the summer of 2014, according to Reagan Smetak, Food & Nutrition Bureau Chief at the New Mexico Children, Youth, & Families Department. This counts for more than 37 percent of the eligible youth population in New Mexico. Thus, New Mexico has the highest state meal service rate for SFSP in the country, Smetak noted.

In terms of SNAP coverage, more than 46 million people receive SNAP food assistance nationwide as of 2014, according to a recent FNS report. In New Mexico, more than 430,000 people enrolled for SNAP benefits as of 2014, according to the same FNS report. Thus, when Undersecretary Concannon knows that we serve a sizable portion of our hungry New Mexico neighbors on a weekly basis, we are hopefully making the case for continuing and not cutting such vital community health and hunger relief support.

To learn more about how you can support our Childhood Hunger Initiative& Senior Hunger Initiative hunger programming & our SNAP Outreach team, visit our Give Now and Take Action links. To learn more about the Summer Food Service Program in New Mexico, visit their website here.  To learn more about all of the food assistance programs which USDA-Food & Nutrition Service run, visit their website here.

Matthew “Matt” Young is the Communications Coordinator at Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico. To share your thoughts on this “Making Room At the Table” feature and other blog posts, you can comment below; call Matt directly at (505) 349-8845; or, e-mail Matt at matthew.young@rrfb.org.

Photograph of USDA-FNS Undersecretary Kevin Concannon (pictured right) touring as a group of Morgan Stanley staff work as volunteers to package & weigh bulk cereal with Roadrunner President & CEO Melody Wattenbarger (pictured left).



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