Gift to the Food Bank Will Help Veterans

A wonderful gift is coming to the Food Bank that will allow us to expand our role in helping veterans.  Recently, Roadrunner Food Bank was notified of a $40,000 private gift coming from a donor who wants the money to be used to specifically support veterans’ programs throughout the state.  The funds could be used for any veterans’ project such as infrastructure to help current programs expand their assistance to veterans, capital improvements to program sites, or as seed money to help jumpstart new programs.  Additionally, the gift is not restricted just to agencies currently serving veterans, but any agency expanding services to veterans or wishing to reach veterans.

Although the gift sounds like a lot of money, when you consider that it will be available to veterans programs statewide it becomes clear that we have to be judicious in how these funds will be utilized.  Recently, the Food Bank hosted a project meeting on March 12, 2013, to begin a discussion on how we can best apply the funds being given.

Attendees at the meeting included representatives from the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, the VA Regional Medical Center, the University of New Mexico Veterans Resource Center, the New Mexico Workforce Connection, and Southwestern New Mexico Transition Center.  Three of our current partner agencies that directly serve veterans including the YWCA of New Mexico, HighPointe Solutions, and the New Mexico Veterans Integration Center also attended the meeting.

After some preliminary remarks by Melody Wattenbarger, President and CEO of Roadrunner Food Bank, a lively discussion by attendees focused mostly on identifying veteran’s needs and how best to serve veteran’s and families.  One common theme included how basic needs such as food can assist veterans and their families in need immediately while at the same time providing additional support and services through existing partners and programs.

It was also discussed how this donation could be used as seed money to help expand already existing programs and assist the newly formed Southwestern New Mexico Transition Center.  Secretary Tim Hale from the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services thought he might be able to find some additional funding that could be funneled through this group as well.

At the end of the meeting, participants were asked to submit what projects they might need funding support for existing veteran’s programs.  Participants will need to provide their project lists and details to Roadrunner Food Bank by March 29.

A second meeting will be held in late April to discuss the various agency projects and determine where the grant money will have the most impact.

If you would like to be considered for this veteran’s funding, please contact Joe Gatti at 505.349.8853 or

Joe Gatti is the Agency Relations Manager at Roadrunner Food Bank.

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