Friday, November 17, 2017

Remember: Tomorrow (Saturday) is the Letter Carriers Food Drive

Or you can take your donations directly to your neighborhood post office. 

You can also volunteer to sort the food as the letter carriers bring it in to the various branch post offices.  Sign up here

Thanksgiving Week Homeless Schedule

(Note: These places that serve Thanksgiving meals already have enough volunteers to serve the meals, but may welcome assistance with clean-up).

November 18 (Saturday)
11:00 am to 3:00 pm -- Chava Trucking Company Thanksgiving Dinner, 409 Clark Road SW (2-1/2 miles south of Rio Bravo off of 2nd Street). Shuttle service will be provided, beginning at 10:30 am, at Good Shepherd Center, The Rock at Noon Day, Salvation Army Temple (on Broadway & Lead), and Joy Junction

November 20 (Monday)
6:00 to 7:00 pm – Pre-Thanksgiving meal at Joy Junction
*****All other sites will have regular schedule*****

November 21 (Tuesday)
11:00 am to 1:00 pm – Steelbridge’s Thanksgiving meal will be served at The Rock at Noon Day. (The Rock at Noon Day is closed for services other than Steelbridge’s meal)
*****All other sites will have regular schedule*****

November 22 (Wednesday)
8:00 to 11:00 am – The Rock at Noon Day is open these hours only (showers, laundry & breakfast). 11:00 am to 2:00 pm – Joy Junction’s Thanksgiving meal at the Convention Center downtown (get free tickets at various shelters for reserved meal times, but no one will be turned away)
*****All other sites will have regular schedule*****

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday)
Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless (AHCH) will be closed
The Rock at Noon Day will be closed
Sunrise (6:50 am) – “Circle of Remembrance” in the Alb. Peace & Justice Center parking lot (Harvard & Silver SE) – to remember and honor indigenous peoples
 8:30 to 9:30 am – Thanksgiving brunch at Good Shepherd Center
10:30 am – Thanksgiving meal at St. Martin’s (hours are 9:00 to 12:00 noon this day)
10:00 am to 1:00 pm –Thanksgiving meal at Salvation Army Temple, 501 Broadway SE (& Lead)
11:00 am to 2:00 pm – Thanksgiving meal at La Mesa Presbyterian Church, 7401 Copper NE (north of Central, east of Louisiana) – Clothing will be given out beginning at 10:00 am
2:00 to 4:00 pm – Thanksgiving dinner at Joy Junction

November 24 (Friday)
Homeless services: St. Martin’s will be open 9:00 am -12:00 noon with 10-11 am brunch; all other sites (The Rock at Noon Day, AHCH, Good Shepherd Center, and others) will have regular schedule

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Radio Show on Three Ways to Share the Journey

[Pope Francis] has brought it to our attention and asked us to literally Share in the Journey, Now, we have to find out what that means, and all the ways we are called to do it...  Each of you is in a position to very vividly show us, explain and illustrate how all the people listening, all the people of the Catholic faith, of  any faith, can participate in this. -Mary Woods, host of the Archbishop's Hour on Catholic Radio
The theme of the Archbishop's Hour on Catholic Radio (Archdiocese of Santa Fe) on Tuesday, November 14, was the Share the Journey campaign, a global effort launched by Pope Francis to bring attention to the plight of immigrants and refugees everywhere. "War, exploitation, poverty, natural disasters or the desire for a fairer, better life, are causing people to leave their homes," says Caritas, the global counterpart to Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services. "It’s one of the greatest challenges of our time."

"As a result, our world faces not a migration crisis, but a crisis  of global solidarity," Caritas said in a statement on its own Share the Journey site urging the faithful in every country to take part in the campaign. "Be part of a worldwide campaign to reach out to migrants, change perceptions, open hearts and minds."

In the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, the campaign is moving forward on many fronts with the strong support of Archbishop John Wester. Three special guests spoke about their roles in the campaign on the Archbishop's Hour on Catholic Radio on November 14.

Kathy Freeze, Fr. Rafael Garcia, S.J.
Kathy Freeze, faith community outreach coordinator at Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico, spoke about her agency's work with refugees and immigrants and the outreach efforts of Catholic Charities to engage the community in the campaign.

"I like the idea of encounter," she said, describing the efforts to encourage people of different parishes to take to engage with immigrants and refugees in our community. "We can tear up the walls of indifference that we have built up," she noted

Anne Avellone, director of the Office of Social Justice and Respect Life at the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, spoke about advocacy. She and Rocio Gonzales, director of Hispanic Ministry at the Archdiocese, traveled to Washington with counterparts from around the country to meet with Congress on two crucial issues related to the Share the Journey campaign.

One issue addressed the need to preserve funding for foreign aid in the upcoming federal budget, which is essential for the U.S. do its part to respond to the global refugee and immigrant crisis. "It is crucial to respond to the needs of people on the move, many of whom are desperately poor and displaced."

On the domestic front, Avellone and Gonzales met with staff from Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham  about promoting the rights of immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. "We know our immigrants in our community. We know these men and women.  They might be cowoerkers, they might be parishioners, they're certainly neighbors," said Avellone.  "They make a huge contribution to our community."

Debbie Golden, Fr. Graham Golden
Rev. Graham Golden, O Praem, director of the Office of Christian Discipleship and Religious Vocation for the Norbertine Community at Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey in Albuquerque, discussed the art exhibition that the Norbertine Community is hosting at the Abbey. The exhibit, which features works from 46 artists, was launched with a gallery opening on November 3, that was attended by more than 300 people. The exhibit will close on Dec. 16, with a traditional posada (a reenactment of Mary and Joseph's difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a warm place to stay the night).

Father Golden, who played a key role in curating the exhibit, noted that the art on display includes both works of immigrants and refugees and pieces from any person in the community who is on some sort of journey. "We felt that the arts were a  good opening to be able to allow for people to safely take risks to step into the world of someone else, to try find where there was some point of intersection between their own lives and their own journey and the very literal journey of immigrants and refugees," he said.

These are only snippets of the very insightful comments from the three guests.  For a more in-depth account of their discussions and comments, listen to the show via This Link  (Fast forward past the preliminary information to Minute 23 to hear the interviews. My thanks to host Mary Woods for supplying the link to the audio).    

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Urge Congress to Pass a Tax Reform that Helps Low-Income Families

Later this week, the House will vote on a tax reform bill that significantly helps high-income earners, but does little for low-income families. Tax reform should help, not hurt, people who work hard but still struggle to put food on the table. Call (800-826-3688) or email your Member of Congress. Tell him/her to vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1).

Monday, November 13, 2017

An Interfaith Thanksgiving Service in #ABQ on Sunday

Eight faith communities in Albuquerque are coming together on Sunday, November 19, for an Interfaith Celebration of Thanksgiving and Peace at Congregation Albert, 3800 Louisiana Ave., 3:00 p.m. Music will be provided by a combined choir of singers from these communities. Following the service, there will be a dessert fellowship..

Canned goods and monetary donations will be accepted for distribution to those in need.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Help Equals Hope Needs Turkeys for Thanksgiving

This year Help Equals Hope will again provide Thanksgiving Week food boxes for at least 120 families. The all-volunteer organization, led by Executive Director Laura Burnett, has been working with teachers, principals, shelters and social workers who have already identified families in need of nutrition assistance while school is closed for the holiday.

Since turkeys are the most expensive food item, Help Equals Hope is requesting our help.

One easy way is to buy a gift card at Smith's, Walmart or Lowe's Market, and mail it to:

Help Equals Hope
P.O. Box 66765
Albuquerque, NM 87193

Another option this year is PayPal, using the email address, The food boxes (each with a turkey) will be distributed to families on Sunday, Nov. 19

Help Equals Hope is a program of the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, America's Children. Visit their website to learn more about this wonderful organization. They also hold a school supply drive annually, providing backpacks of school supplies for children whose parents can't afford to purchase them, and they gather monetary and in-kind donations year-round. In August they were able to distribute 1181 backpacks to students throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation just across the border in Arizona!

Catholic Charities to Hold 14th Annual Saint Nicholas Ball Fundraiser

Saint Nicholas Ball, the signature fundraiser of Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico, is now in its fourteenth year! Join more than 450 other supporters and partners in enjoying a dinner, silent and live auctions, and entertainment and dancing!

Saturday, November 18
Embassy Suites 
1000 Woodward Pl. NE
6:00-9:00 p.m.

Tickets are $150 each which includes dinner, silent/live auction and entertainment by the Pink Flamingos. Table sponsorships are also available.

Contact Catholic Charities Development Office at 505-724-4637 to make arrangements.

Formerly known as the "Festival of Trees," money raised from the event goes toward sustaining the many programs of Catholic Charities, which delivers a broad range of services throughout central New Mexico. These programs are supported via six centers: The Children's Learning Center, Center for Educational Opportunity, Center for Self Sufficency Housing Assistance, Center for Immigration and Citizenship Legal Assistance, Center for Refugee Support, and Center for Community Involvement.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Another Way to Honor Our Veterans: Preserve Funding for SNAP

Almost 1.5 million veterans live in households that participate in SNAP (formerly food stamps), CBPP analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey finds.[1] In every state, thousands of low-income veterans use SNAP to help put food on the table; two states have more than 100,000 veterans participating: Florida (124,000) and Texas (103,000). In eight states, at least 10 percent of veterans live in households that received SNAP in the last year.  -Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
In New Mexico, 12,000 of the 147,000 people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during 2014-2016 were military veterans. That number represented 8 percent of all SNAP recipients in the state.

That rate of 8 percent matches figures for the U.S. as a whole. Nearly 1.5 million veterans qualified for SNAP in the two-year period out of a total of 18.9 million SNAP recipients, according to a study from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

"The 1.5 million figure, an annual average for the 2014-2016 period, represents veterans who received SNAP at any point during the previous year,: said the CBPP study.  "For low-income veterans, who may be unemployed, working in low-wage jobs, or have disabilities, SNAP provides an essential support that enables them to purchase nutritious food for their families."

"Some veterans returning from service face challenges in finding work and making ends meet.  For example, young veterans who leave active duty may have little work experience beyond military service.  Searching for a new job can be especially difficult while they are in the military." 
Download a PDF copy of  the CBPP report

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers SNAP and other assistance benefits programs, created a special site with information for veterans. "You served our country proudly and honorably, and we want to inform you that through our nutrition programs, you may be eligible for assistance to ensure you, your family, and fellow veterans have the assistance to ensure you have nutritious meals," said the USDA site.

SNAP in Danger of Cutbacks
SNAP and other programs that benefit low-income individuals and families, including veterans, are vulnerable to  sharp reductions with the budget proposals."A joint budget resolution passed in Congress last month. Although just a blueprint, the legislation adds $1.5 trillion to the deficit. Legislators will need to find ways to raise money in spending bills and through tax reform, increasing the likelihood of cuts to vital anti-hunger programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, and lifesaving foreign aid," said Bread for the World.

"Nationwide, SNAP is a powerful anti-hunger and anti-poverty tool:  it kept 8.8 million people above the poverty line in 2014, including 4 million children," said the CBPP.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Advocacy is an Important Follow-up Action to Fasting

Dave Miner in Albuquerque in 2014
The problem is so big that we need everybody. We need private and public, we need faith-based, we need nonprofits. The federal meals run between 80 and 90 percent total, so they are essential.  Dave Miner
Back in September, Indianapolis Bread for the World advocate and activist David Miner went on a 16-day fast to draw attention to the harmful impact that proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) would have on low-income families in Indiana.

Dave is making sure that the message he brought to the public during the fast continues to resonate not only in Indiana but also at the national level. He offers comments in an interview on Indiana Public Radio.  Here is a link to an article from the Indiana NPR affiliate (including an audio clip quoting Dave, Jessica Fraser  of the Indiana Institute for Working Families and Emily Weickert Bryant of Feeding Indiana's Hungry).

Bread members and people of faith around the country are fasting, praying and speaking out against cuts in SNAP and other nutrition programs (and other programs that directly or indirectly affect hunger) through a campaign created by a coalition of faith groups that includes Bread for the World.

Many individuals and faith communities are setting aside some time on the 21st of each month to participate in the campaign, entitled For Such a Time as This. The 21st is symbolic because this the time of the month when SNAP benefits usually run out for most beneficiaries.

In Albuquerque, St. Paul Lutheran Church is leading a vigil on Tuesday, Nov. 21. The ELCA congregation will be holding this action every 21st day of the month at its labyrinth garden, and all people of faith and conscience in Albuquerque are invited to attend.  "Our plan is to gather at 5:00 p.m. for brief time of quiet prayer, meditation, walking the labyrinth, perhaps sing a taize song," said Ivan Westergaard, one of the planners of the event along with Karla Ice and others at the church.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

New Mexico in Focus Features Local Nutritionist Patty Keane

On October 20, our friend Patty Keane appeared on KNME-TV show to discuss food insecurity in New Mexico and other nutrition-related issues. Here is a video of her conversing with host Gene Grant., host of New Mexico in Focus. Keane, who is a registered dietician at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, was also featured in the KNME documentary “Big Healthy Life.” Just below the interview is the segment of the documentary where Keane and Alissa Barnes, director of Community initiatives at Roadrunner Food Bank, offer  their perspectives Check their comments at the 5-minute mark.  There are five segments in the "Big Healthy Life" series

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Revisiting Santa Fe's Food Policy

The Santa Fe Food Policy Council, a thirteen-member advisory group that includes city and county officials and other citizens working on local food issues, hosted one of its occasional public forums on October 12, 2017, at the Santa Fe Convention Center.

The council heard presentations from at least a dozen speakers about food policy in our state capital as it relates to the multi-year food plan.

According to the news site Edible (Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos), three ongoing needs came to the forefront during the presentations: to expand the local market for local growers to sell their produce locally; to expand access to locally grown food to people of all incomes; and to educate a broad public about growing, buying, and cooking natural, nutritious produce. Read full article by Pamela Walker, who interviewed Kierstan Pickens, executive director of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute, about how the Double Up Food Bucks program helps low-income families buy more fruits and  vegetables at growers markets.

Mayor Javier Gonzales, who has made a priority of addressing hunger in Santa Fe, also offered some remarks.“Santa Fe is a city of great means. Yet thirty percent of our kids will go hungry tonight. Twenty-eight percent of them have two working parents," said Gonzales. "Sixty percent of them are obese. We must challenge ourselves to solve the issues of hunger in our community."

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

An Early Thanksgiving with the Turkish Community in Albuquerque

The Turkish community in Albuquerque cordially invites you and your significant other (s) to an Early Thanksgiving Dinner. 

Friday, November 17, 2017
6:30 to 8:30 pm

Raindrop Turkish House
7901 Mountain Rd. NE Suite: A Albuquerque, NM 87110

RSVP Required (Click here)

Sunday, November 05, 2017

The Beauty of a Carrot

(Photo: Ari Herring)
Food doesn’t have to be beautiful. But there has to be food.

-Ari Herring, director of the Rio Grande Food Project (describing this carrot that was part of a produce donation)

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. 

-Eckhart Tolle

Saturday, November 04, 2017

World Economic Forum Offers Practical Approach to Address Hunger

An interesting piece from the World Economic Forum on an approach  to address global hunger:

Today, the world faces the highest migration flows since World War II. Hunger and poverty, in addition to conflict and instability, are the main drivers of this phenomenon. Most of the world’s 763 million migrants have become internally displaced people within their home countries, relocating while searching for food and peace.

To make matters worse, global hunger is on the rise again. About 815 million people went to bed unfed or half-fed in 2016, compared to 777 million the year before. This trend, if left unchecked, will result in a mass exodus of rural populations to urban areas, potentially triggering an even larger human catastrophe.

Rural-urban migration is intensifying an already acute shortage of agricultural workers, which has emerged as one of the main obstacles to food production in many countries. This, in turn, results in more outmigration from rural areas and the agricultural sector.

Similarly, climate change and food production are also connected; the later suffers from and contributes to the former. And let’s not forget that the agricultural resource base is shrinking, and agricultural productivity is declining.

Against this backdrop, the most pertinent question is, where should we invest to enhance food security and thereby help to slow down migration?
  • First and foremost, we need customized knowledge and a knowledgeable farming community to boost knowledge-intensive agriculture.
  • Second, data enables knowledge-intensive agriculture. since smallholders often lack access to data, we must invest to build an appropriate, accessible, and affordable provider-user networks.
  • Third, investment is also necessary at the mid-end (processing and storage) and front-end (distribution and retail) stages of the food chain to reduce post-harvest loss.
Read Full Article

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