The Chronicles Of Grant County
Roadrunner Food Bank
The Roadrunner has been highlighted in previous editions of The Chronicles Of Grant County. Information about the bird as well as its use as a symbol have been detailed. In addition to its status as the State Bird of New Mexico, the Roadrunner is also used as a symbol and in the name of the largest food bank in the state.
"New Mexico is ranked as one of the hungriest and most poverty-stricken states in the nation," stated Sonya Warwick, Communications Officer of the Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico. "Roadrunner Food Bank, a Feeding America member, is the largest non-profit dedicated to solving hunger in New Mexico. The Food Bank serves as a distribution hub and provides food to hundreds of affiliated partners around the state including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and regional food banks."
Several organizations in Grant County receive food from the Roadrunner Food Bank. Among these organizations are the Silver City Gospel Mission, St. Francis Associates, and Volunteer Center of Grant County in Silver City; Mining District Pantry in Santa Clara; Mimbres Valley Health Action League in Mimbres; and Gila Valley Food Pantry in Cliff.
You can view the addresses and telephone numbers for these Grant County organizations by clicking here. In the map search option, place the wording "Silver City, NM" and select "25 mi."
Much of the food that is distributed by the Roadrunner Food Bank to organizations in Grant County and throughout other counties comes from regional and national businesses. "Another source of food is…known as commodity food," explained Ms. Warwick. "This is USDA [United States Department of Agriculture] product purchased by the Federal government for distribution primarily through food banks…There has been…more USDA commodity food in the last 1.5 years available for the program (called TEFAP – The Emergency Food Assistance Program)."
This increase can be attributed to both the impact of tariffs on international trade as well as the situation with the virus that causes COVID-19. "The federal government set aside funding through one of the recent [relief] packages to help stabilize the impact on the food industry," continued Ms. Warwick. The USDA "contracted specifically with the food industry to push food out across the country. The contracted vendors then selected partners/nonprofits to distribute it. It comes pre-boxed to us and is often all perishables with a mix of products we don't have. Food banks primarily then take it the last mile to locations across the state. Given its high perishability, not all sites could accommodate these specific food boxes for distribution."
The needs within New Mexico are extensive.
"Last year, the [Roadrunner] Food Bank distributed more than 40 million pounds of food, helping tens of thousands of people experiencing hunger every week through a statewide hunger-relief network," noted Ms. Warwick. "In the last 12 months (October, 2019 – September, 2020), we provided roughly 845,957 pounds [of food] to Grant County." The poundage listed includes food from all sources, including commodity food provided by the USDA.
Ms. Warwick noted that the Roadrunner Food Bank encourages local residents and local businesses in Grant County to donate food directly to local organizations in Grant County to help local folks. "For rural communities, we encourage and focus on keeping any food donations in the county."
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© 2020 Richard McDonough