From New Mexico First:
The need for emergency food has hit a real crisis across New Mexico. Children are the hungriest in the nation pre-pandemic and the situation is getting desperate for families, food banks, food pantries and meal programs statewide.
The emergency food providers count on volunteers to achieve their missions. Most of those volunteers throughout the state are retirees and elders are at particularly high-risk of illness right now.
Emergency food programs throughout the state have pantries closing because of lack of volunteers. The food banks and pantries that have remained open are practicing social distancing to keep volunteers, staff and the community safe as they distribute food to hungry people. Support is needed to continue to meet these critical needs.
In an emergency response coordination call on March 26, providers reported 40-200 percent increases in families/individuals using services. Those numbers are expected to grow as supply chain issues continue, joblessness increases and economic down turn persists as leaders work to contain the Coronavirus.
How be a part of the solution:
- Volunteer (if you’re healthy and able);
- Donate personal protective equipment (gloves and masks) to keep volunteers and the public healthy as food is shared;
- Donate boxes and bags. Many emergency food providers have gone to drive-through food distribution to limit contact and respond to the increased number of people using these community supports and need a way to pass food out quickly and safely;
- Donate cleaning supplies, shelters and pantries maintain high standards of cleanliness and safety but hoarding of cleaning supplies means that they cannot buy these needed items;
- Please give monetary donations to food banks and pantries to purchase large quantities of food and cover mileage and supplies to distribute food. Consider giving locally as well as finding a rural, frontier or Tribal/Pueblo community program to support as they have been particularly hard hit and experience food deserts during normal times; and
- Help- you can practice social distancing and continue to reach out to neighbors/community members who may be unable to leave their home and offer help with the basics. You can call ahead and drop off needed items in their driveways. We all have something to offer each other.
Direct questions about contacting local food resources to volunteer, donate or contribute or for help, visit sharenm.org. It’s simple. Enter the location, category (basic needs) and key words like food or meals. A list of community resources is generated. The situation on the ground is changing rapidly so call ahead to learn about hours of operation and services available.
To be part of coordinating community responses to addressing food insecurity, contact Lilly Irvin-Vitela at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the SHARE NM Resource Directory, contact Wendy Wintermute, SHARE Program Director at email@example.com.