Solving Senior Hunger: Meet Mary Martinez

Mary Martinez Picking Potatoes at Roadrunner's Healthy Foods Center; Photo Taken May 23rd, 2016 by Matt Young

Mary Martinez Picking Potatoes at Roadrunner’s Healthy Foods Center; Photo Taken May 23rd, 2016 by Matt Young

In many ways, Mary Martinez could very well be your next door neighbor. She’s not afraid to share that she’s 63 years old. She loves cooking and gardening at her and her husband’s home in the North Valley of Albuquerque. She has five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Also, like many of our neighbors in New Mexico, Mary and her husband until recently faced daily food insecurity. They didn’t know where their next meal would come from.

“I have some thyroid problems,” Mary said with us during a recent Monday visit to Roadrunner Food Bank’s Healthy Foods Center. “Plus, my husband’s a disabled veteran and working through lowering his high blood pressure.”

One day in late 2015, Mary went to a routine dental cleaning appointment with Community Dental Services on Candelaria Northwest in Albuquerque. At that appointment, Mary answered questions which formed the first screening test of food insecurity conducted between area healthcare providers like Community Dental Services & Roadrunner. She answered enough questions to earn an “entry voucher” to our Healthy Foods Center. Now, for more than 8 months, Mary has been returning weekly to fill her “food prescriptions” at our Healthy Foods Center.


Freshly Arrived Squashes (Calabacitas) & Other Produce at Roadrunner's Healthy Foods Center; Photo Taken May 23rd, 2016 by Matt Young

Freshly Arrived Squashes (Calabacitas) & Other Produce at Roadrunner’s Healthy Foods Center; Photo Taken May 23rd, 2016 by Matt Young


“I love getting fresh cucumbers and potatoes and fruits here at the Center,” Mary shared. “When my husband gets cravings for cucumber sandwiches, I’m especially grateful to have extra cucumbers at home,” Mary laughed as she told her story.

Mary Martinez represents just one example of the more than 20 percent of people whom Roadrunner Food Bank serves: senior citizens. The month of May marks Older Americans Month in New Mexico and Nationwide. So, what could be a better time to learn how Roadrunner helps solve senior hunger in New Mexico?

As Mary walks through the Healthy Foods Center rows of produce, dairy products, breads, and more, she walks the same rows which thousands of people have walked since the Healthy Foods Center opened for its pilot phase in August 2015. Thanks to timely screenings with Community Dental Services, University of New Mexico, and other healthcare providers, our clients and their family members afflicted with dietary conditions have reliable, weekly access to nutritious foods. For senior citizens who often are forced to choose between paying for food or paying for medications, we believe our Healthy Foods Center gives peace of mind for all seniors, all families, everyone who walks through our doors.

Yet, the best part is arguably the gift that keeps on giving: volunteerism. Mary has talked with one of her granddaughters about making time to help out with her at the Healthy Foods Center.

“She’s 16 years old, wants something to do, and so why not give back to a place that has given so much to us,” Mary told us. Talk about building community health through volunteering to make more healthy food accessible!

If you want to learn more about what you can do to help us solve senior hunger, through our Healthy Foods Center or through other means of giving food, money, or time, learn more at our homepage, .

Matthew “Matt” Young is the Communications Coordinator at Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico. To comment on this or other blog features, you can comment directly below; call Matthew at (505) 349-8845; or e-mail Matthew at .


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