New Mexico-Veterans Integration Centers: Meeting Veterans’ Needs Year-Round

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, we wanted to take some time to honor those who offer some of the deepest public service in our country: our armed forces and veterans. At Roadrunner, we know all too well the troubled reality for veterans returning from combat, be it in the last few months or decades since their formal service concluded. One in four of the households Roadrunner serves have a family member who qualifies as a veteran. Yet, our organization alone cannot feed this sizable population of our state and why we are beyond grateful for the support of our partner agencies. Partner agencies such as the New Mexico-Veterans Integration Centers.

Since 2005, our partner agency at the New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers (NM-VIC) in Albuquerque has helped hundreds of veterans return to finding stability in their day-to-day lives. From a roof over their heads, to finding gainful employment, and especially for us at Roadrunner, to help meet their food needs. Yet, it was only when we visited their operations in April that we realized how deep and extensive of an impact they were making in the community and how proud we are to have them as one of our partner +500 partner agencies.

We met Lisa Martinez, who manages NM-VIC’s food distribution and pantry center, alongside monthly cooking classes for veterans in certain NM-VIC programs.

“Our volunteers who are almost all veterans make this place charge with energy and service,” Lisa shared with us. “It’s not uncommon to serve no less than 85 veterans per day here on our distribution days.”

Per week, NM-VIC will provide between 3,000-4,000 pounds of food, and with more and more of these amounts consisting of healthier, perishable food items, Lisa said. Fortunately, NM-VIC was one of our partner agency recipients of our 2014 grant from the National Dairy Council, which allowed them to acquire 2-3 additional freezer and refrigerator units. Such an acquisition increases markedly NM-VIC’s ability to store not only more food overall, but more perishable food items including fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.

Alongside the expanding food distribution center, NM-VIC also offers various housing, mental health service, and professional development programs. Service-minded staff including Lisa Martinez, George Houser, Wendy Webber, Tim Pesavento, Will Crain, and Debbie Young diligently, passionately advocate for and work with those in our communities who have given lasting public service for their country, for us.

To put it another way, every time you give food or financial or volunteer support to Roadrunner, you are empowering organizations such as the New Mexico Veteran Integration Centers to continue their fight against veteran homelessness and veteran hunger. Thus, in no small way, you are doing public service of your own in making our veterans, making NM-VIC, making Roadrunner, and ultimately making our communities stronger and more food secure.

To everyone, we wish you an engaging, safe Memorial Day weekend and Memorial Day, as well as never forgetting the sheer value of public service, be it on the front lines of war, the front lines of hunger relief, or elsewhere! Thank you!

Matthew “Matt” Young is the Communications Coordinator at Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico. To share your comments on this post or Matthew’s past posts, you can comment directly below; call him at (505) 349-8845; or e-mail him at matthew.young@rrfb.org .

Photo Courtesy of Matthew Young, Featuring in Front Row (L-R) Elinor Reiners, Debbie Young, Wendy Webber, & Lisa Martinez; Featuring in Back Row (L-R) Tim Pesavento, Michael Jefferson, & George Houser. From April 2015.



2 Responses to New Mexico-Veterans Integration Centers: Meeting Veterans’ Needs Year-Round

  1. Randy Salars says:

    Great job guys-keep up the good work!

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