New Mexico aims for 'no hungry holidays' by doubling donations
Monday, December 4, 2023
Just a few days into December, food bank demand is high while some warehouse shelves are lean, and in New Mexico, a matching donation program this month aims to ensure fewer people go hungry.
Sonya Warwick, director of communications and events for the Roadrunner Food Bank, said the organization has seen growth in the "meal gap" this year, driven by higher costs and a family's inability to absorb those costs. To help, Warwick noted three donors are matching community contributions to make sure the organization has the ability to purchase food and fill its increasingly empty shelves.
"It helps us purchase food that we need to obtain," Warwick explained. "It helps us get, for example, a load of food that's coming to us for free, and maybe we just have to pay for the freight to get it to the food bank, and then redistribute it."
Roadrunner's dollar for dollar matching gift, up to $125,000, is from the Abram and Ray Kaplan Foundation, Jackalope, and Smith's Food and Drug Stores. Warwick pointed out more people began turning to charitable food programs after additional nutrition benefits were rolled back at the end of the pandemic. Donate to Roadrunner's program at rrfb.org/match.
In New Mexico, food insecurity affects one in five children and one in seven people overall. By doubling contributions during December, Warwick emphasized donors are hoping to transform hunger for all, from preschoolers to older adults, veterans to farmworkers.
"These are a group of donors who care about what we're doing," Warwick stressed. "So much so, that they want to try to leverage that support within the community, to really inspire and spark additional giving at a time of year when need is high, and we've had lower volumes of food in our warehouses."
She added December donations will help Roadrunner shore up for January, when financial contributions and volunteering typically drop off.
Data from the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey last month show nearly 28 million people reported experiencing food scarcity. It is the highest figure in 2023 and the highest number recorded by the survey since December 2020.
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