Rotary Club Of Los Alamos Hosts Essential Food Service

By LINDA HULL
Vice President
Rotary Club of Los Alamos

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Oct. 30! With the community’s help, the Rotary Club of Los Alamos will once again join with Meals of Hope and Crossroads Bible Church to pack 40,000 meals on the last Saturday of October. 

Our combined efforts will help alleviate hunger in Northern New Mexico. Packaged food will be donated to The Food Depot in Santa Fe for distribution to LA Cares and other Northern New Mexico food banks.  Approximately 25 percent of the packages will be included with the Club’s other donations to the Navajo Nation to be distributed to chapter houses in Huerfano, New Mexico near Bloomfield in November and December.

Club President Oliver Morris has chosen this as his Presidential Project because “food insecurity is a critical issue in New Mexico all the time. The needs now, especially with the persistence of the pandemic, are staggering. Rotary is a service organization, and we are proactively addressing this problem.”

Morris’s concerns are well-founded.  According to recent data from The Food Depot, one in seven New Mexico residents face hunger, one in five are children. This translates to almost 300,000 people routinely facing hunger; over 100,000 of them are children. In dollars, more than $150,000,000 is needed per year to meet their food needs.  

The US Department of Agriculture reports that most of New Mexico qualifies as a food desert, large areas without access to affordable, healthy nourishment. In a study this year, New Mexico Voices for Children found that New Mexico ranks eighth highest in the U.S. in overall food insecurity and third highest in food insecurity for children. Of the more than 70,000 hungry New Mexicans who seek food assistance every week, between 30 percent-40 percent are children, 21 percent percent are seniors over the age of 60.

Last year, to help alleviate overwhelming needs, The Rotary Club of Los Alamos was awarded a generous grant from Rotary District 5520 and Rotary International to sponsor a project providing 40,000 meals of beans and rice to families in need in Northern New Mexico. 

Oct. 30 this year, Rotary will be partnering again with Meals of Hope, a Florida-based food-packing organization that “inspires and empowers communities to come together to end hunger,” and with Crossroads Bible Church of Los Alamos. The funds enabling Rotary to pay for this project were generated through the community’s support of the Club’s July fundraiser, Brews, Band, and BBQ hosted by Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op.

The Rotary Club is now recruiting volunteers to pack bags of ready-to-prepare meals of chicken, rice, and vegetable soup mix. Each bag contains six servings and is labeled with cooking instructions.  

A review of the Rotary Club-Meals of Hope event follows: 

  • Saturday, Oct. 30;
  • Crossroads Bible Church, 97 East Road in Los Alamos; park on the west side to enter the church;
  • Shifts run 8:30-11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2:30-5 p.m. and accommodate 50 volunteers;
  • All current COVID-19 mandates will be followed. Hairnets, gloves and masks will be provided; hand sanitizer and bottles of water will be available. Temperatures will be taken with contactless thermometers before the public is allowed to enter;
  • Volunteers can expect to stand for 2.5 hours as they work;
  • During all shifts, volunteers will be work at tables in the church’s lower level, packing bags of ready-to-prepare meals of soup mix;
  • Each bag contains enough for six servings and is labeled with instructions;
  • The packaged foods will be given for distribution to The Food Depot in Santa Fe, which also provides food to LA Cares and other Northern New Mexico food banks; and
  • The Rotary Club-Meals of Hope Committee members are President Oliver Morris, Laura Gonzales, and Linda Hull.

President Oliver Morris has provided sign-up sheets at this link.

For more information about the event, call Laura Gonzales at 505.699.5880. Those unable to attend, but who would like to support the work of the local Rotary Club, are encouraged to make a tax-deductible donation to Los Alamos Rotary 1312, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation, at PO Box 986, Los Alamos, NM, 87544.

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