Every Feb. 14, we’re bombarded with a barrage of advertisements in celebration of what my husband calls “Amateur Day.” Storefronts boast pink and red decorations, children exchange candy and sweet notes with classmates and bouquets of flowers start popping up in coworkers’ offices. It’s the one day where we all pause to connect with the people we love.
But when I think of the word “love,” I don’t necessarily associate it with a dozen red roses or my body weight in chocolate. It’s a powerful word that communicates how I feel about my family, my dog, my friends and my community. It explains how I feel about snowboarding and nachos. And it describes what motivates me to be a better person and help people I don’t even know.
It hurts my heart to know that there are people right here in my neighborhood that will be spending Valentine’s Day trying to figure out how to feed their children dinner. It makes me sad to think of the elementary school children with hungry bellies who won’t get to enjoy holidays the way that I always have.
Eating is such an enjoyable event that we often forget is a luxury for some people in our community. I keep a thank you note on my office wall from a Roadrunner Food Bank event from a child that says, “My mom lost her job and we couldn’t buy food. Thank you for helping us so that we can have breakfast.” It’s a reminder that little acts of love really do make a difference.
What I appreciate most about Roadrunner is that it can take donations, no matter how small, and turn them into nourishment for people in need. It’s great that there are programs designed to meet the specific needs of seniors, of children and of families in crisis. There are so many ways for volunteers and donors to help Roadrunner share the love.
So in honor of Valentine’s Day, let my first declaration of love be to the people who make Roadrunner Food Bank tick. Thank you for making Albuquerque a better place.
Annemarie Ciepiela Henton is a volunteer that serves on the Food Bank’s Communications Committee.