Thanks for asking! We’re a network of five member food banks that provide emergency food support to more than 400 agencies around the state. Our members are:
- The Community Pantry – Gallup
- ECHO, Inc. – Farmington
- The Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico – Clovis
- The Food Depot – Santa Fe
- Roadrunner Food Bank – with branches in Albuquerque and Las Cruces
Each food bank serves a specific area (see the map below), and we work together as an association to maximize our distribution and buying power. Our main program is the Fresh Produce Initiative. The association purchases truck load quantities of fresh produce from around the country and then distributes it out to our member food banks to supplement their other purchased and donated food. That food then goes out to programs in every county in New Mexico to feed the nearly 40,000 New Mexicans who seek food assistance every week.
Every week, loads of fresh produce arrive in Albuquerque. That food is then put on the association truck along with other product (USDA food, donated items, purchased food). Our driver, Robert, then makes a weekly delivery to each food bank around the state. The association truck drives more than 80,000 miles each year – that’s the equivalent of driving around the equator 3 times every 12 months!
Frequently, the fresh fruits and vegetables we distribute are the only produce that families have. We want all New Mexicans to have access to fresh, healthy food, particularly since 40% of the people we serve are children under the age of 18, and 7% of those children are under the age of 5. Children need healthy food to grow and thrive, and every child in New Mexico deserves the opportunity to have a healthy start in life.
Right now, we’re also working to expand our access to fresh produce by starting a gleaning project. This project will allow us to pay New Mexico farmers to do a final gleaning of their fields or orchards. That produce will then be distributed to our member food banks. It will also provide some financial support to small farmers and producers around the state in rural areas. We are planning to launch a couple of pilot projects this summer, so if you know a grower who might be interested, have them contact the association.
Another way you can help get produce to more New Mexicans is to plant an extra row in your garden this spring. You can then donate that produce to a local emergency food program or pantry in your neighborhood. For information about agencies in your area, visit our website (www.nmfoodbanks.org), go to Get Help, type in your zip code, and you’ll see a listing of emergency food providers in your area. You can then contact them directly to make arrangements to donate your garden produce to them. It’s a great way to get involved with making sure that all New Mexicans have access to fresh, healthy food.
If you have questions or would like more information about the New Mexico Association of Food Banks and our programs, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 505.217.1066.
Kathy Komoll is the Executive Director of the New Mexico Association of Food Banks.