Rural Childhood Hunger in New Mexico

I am not from New Mexico but have fallen in love with this state. I think what I love most is the people I meet. Well, okay, along with that green chile! So many of the New Mexicans I have met are very kind, generous and want to help each other. It truly makes it a pleasure to work here. Working with Roadrunner Food Bank takes me all over the southern part of the state, and as I am based in the Las Cruces office, I spend a good portion of my time working in rural areas.

Many of the agencies Roadrunner works with are rural and serving a rural population has its difficulties. In fact, one of the largest barriers Roadrunner faces in working to serve our local families is the rural nature of our state. Here are some quick numbers: New Mexico covers approximately 121,000 square miles with a total population of around 2,000,000 people. New Mexico has 33 counties, where Roadrunner serves 16 counties directly and the 17 remaining counties through four Partner Distribution Organizations to reach all 120,000 square miles of New Mexico. Our trucks routinely travel over 300 miles to deliver food to our partners. That’s a lot of distance to cover!

Roadrunner is continually trying to find better ways to feed New Mexicans. As many of you know, New Mexico ranks #1 in the nation for childhood hunger. To feed children, you need to feed families. In many cases, there are no grocery stores in some of New Mexico’s communities. This means a family could potentially have to drive many miles to even get groceries. New Mexico is truly a rural state and if we want to feed more children, we will need to find ways to meet the needs of rural areas. I think one of the most effective ways to further Roadrunner’s rural child hunger mission is to learn from others who are facing the same challenges and obstacles when it comes to working rurally.

Recently, I was fortunate to attend Feeding America’s Rural Child Hunger Capacity Institute kick-off meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. It was a meeting for 20 food banks located throughout the United States who deal with rural childhood hunger. This opportunity through Feeding America is basically a chance for those of us from food banks in rural areas to talk to each other and build resources that can help others. Our goal is to develop new ways to feed rural children and families, in turn creating a model that will work for other food banks regardless of their locations.

Much of our time was spent learning what works for some food banks and not for others. This was a very exciting meeting, and it proved enjoyable to hear from other food banks about their challenges and successes in feeding rural families. I am excited about this opportunity through Feeding America, because I truly want to serve rural children and families in ways that work.

I will be working with this group until February 2016 and will be sure to keep you all in the loop. I think it’s going to be an exciting year!


 Amanda Cuba works as Roadrunner Food Bank’s Community Programs Manager out of our Southern Branch in Las Cruces, NM. To offer comments or feedback for Amanda on this blog, you can comment below; e-mail her at; or call her at 575.323.5150.


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