Rep. Stansbury and Ferrary have worked with a broad coalition to promote an omnibus bill that would look at all aspects of hunger in our state. Rep. Allison was one of the co-sponsors of a Legislative Memorial that supported the creation of Legislative Hunger Caucus.
The effort to bring diverse voices to the solution to address hunger in New Mexico has been both challenging and rewarding. The task was complicated further by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which greatly increased the demand for food and created massive unemployment in our state. "Throughout this time, New Mexicans have risen to the occasion. Neighbors have helped neighbors, grassroots and mutual aid organizations have stepped in, and major investments have been made by nonprofit and philanthropic donors to help weather the storm," the three legislators said in the opinion piece. "The state’s five food banks and hundreds of sister agencies have mobilized on a massive scale, and farmers and ranchers have donated untold amounts of food."
The participation of legislators in the effort is broad. Even though three legislators authored the opinion piece, the coalition enjoys strong participation and input from members of both political parties and from all regions of the state.
The partnership between civil society and the State Legislature (and the executive branch) is an important step towards beginning the process of ending hunger in New Mexico. "For nothing is more fundamental to life, to culture, to our economy,
and to the well-being of our people than access to food and water.
Please help us shape and support this critical legislation and support
your local food banks and farmers," the opinion piece concluded.
Friday, October 16, 2020
Thank you for observing World Food Day 2020 with us in New Mexico. Please refer to this guide before, after and as you view the compilation of stories and prayers we offer to you this day. The stories promote food and agriculture sustainability and/or recognize efforts by a faith community or organization to provide special assistance or adapt operations to meet the increased needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In between these stories, we have powerful prayers and blessings from faith leaders around the state.These stories and prayers are listed in the order in which they appear on the video. The main presenter is listed in parenthesis. View the video
Greeting and Introduction to World Food Day Chant, David Poole & Keri Sutter
AFSC Farm to Food Bank (Sayrah Namaste). At the start of the pandemic, AFSC launched the Farm to Food Bank Project in New Mexico to connect small-scale farmers with food banks struggling to meet rising needs during the pandemic. AFSC purchases much-needed food from small organic farms and delivers it directly to pantries in Taos, Albuquerque and Española Donate to Farm to Food Bank Program
Join the Interfaith Hunger Coalition
We invite congregations and organizations to endorse the Interfaith Hunger Coalition. The endorsement does not imply any financial contributions, just a commitment to partner with us to address hunger in New Mexico. Here is a list of our current endorsers (23 congregations and 30 organizations). Download the endorsement form and attach in an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, October 03, 2020
A part of our online event will be very familiar. David Poole will teach and perform a song he composed for our World Food Day events in recent years, and Keri Sutter from Surgite Sacred Dance Company will show us the hand movements that accompany the song. David and Keri, with help from Winona Poole, recorded this portion in the open space of the Albuquerque North Valley.
One of our themes is similar to those in past years: to promote food and agriculture practices that protect the right to food for future generations. The global campaign is entitled Grow, Nurish, Sustain.Together. In our video, we will hear from Think Like a Bee, which underscores the importance of bees to our future food production and from the Water Resources Action Project, which tells us about efforts to bring life-sustaining water to portions of the Navajo and Hopi Nations.
Assistance during the Pandemic
Our celebration also recognizes the local organizations and faith communities that have helped mitigate hunger and food insecurity during this time of quarantine. AFSC Farm to Food Bank tells us how the organization has supported local agricultural producers while providing assistance to pantries and food banks in New Mexico. Among those receiving assistance from the AFSC program is Shared Table/El Pueblito United Methodist Church, which tells us about the increased need in the Taos area during the pandemic, and how clients continue to be served.
The Rio Grande Food Project in Albuquerque and St. Felix Pantry in Rio Rancho also describe how they adapted their operations to continue their mission of feeding local residents despite a quarantine.The M.T.O Shahmagsoudi School of Islamic Sufism discusses its volunteer projects in Albuquerque during the pandemic.
We also have a brief story of an extraordinary partnership between the Santa Fe Community College culinary program and World Central Kitchen, an organization founded by Chef José Andrés to provide meals during a time of extreme emergency. The two came together to bring needed assistance to Kewa Pueblo and another Pueblo in New Mexico.
The Baha'i Assembly in Gallup has a similar story, coming together with the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation to bring assistance to residents of the Navajo Nation.
Our video will also feature prayers from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Native spiritual leaders.
In addition to releasing the video on October 16, we will also post more information about the participating organizations and faith communities, including a link on how to help them financially to continue their mission.
October 13, 2020 2:00-3:30 P.M.
New Mexico Voices for Children KIDS COUNT Conference
This is the second of a series of three sessions. The series aims to lift up strategically and intentionally anti-racist policy reforms to improve child well-being and to address the impacts of COVID-19 and the current recession on children and families in New Mexico. The third session is scheduled for December 9 Tickets are $25 per session Register Here
October 22, 6:30-7:45
New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light Virtual Fall Gathering
The interfaith organization will hold its annual gathering online, The event will feature poetry from Albuquerque Poet Laureatte, Mary Oishi. Communities of faith and resilience will be recognized for their work to promote sustainability and protect the environment, including: NM Acequia Association; Sikh Community of ABQ, and Citizens Caring for the Future in SE NM. Please register with email@example.com and note NM IPL annual meeting. Zoom link will be sent day of the event.
October 23-25, 2020
Rio Grande Food Project, Fifth Annual Hike to End Hunger
Because of the pandemic, there will not be a collective walk. But the opportunities to participate in the annual event are wide open. Hike, walk, roll, stroll, bike… solo or with your dog(s), family, and/or closest friends (in your cool 2020 Hike to End Hunger T-shirts if you so choose), take photos (you can tag us with #hiketoendhungerabq) and most importantly reduce and prevent food insecurity in Albuquerque by supporting Rio Grande Food Project's work because TOO MANY kids, adults and seniors are missing meals every month, every week...some even going DAYS without eating anything at all. Learn More
November 9, 6:30 p.m.
IHC Zoom Meeting
Topic: How Albuquerque Public Schools and other school systems provided meals to school children during the fall semester. More details to come
Saturday, September 12, 2020
During the 2020 session of the New Mexico State Legislature, three legislators introduced an initiative proposing an appropriation to the State Education Department to create a pilot program to address college hunger.
House Bill 69, co-sponsored by Reps. Joanne Ferrary, Christine Trujillo and Melanie Stansbury, was approved on a "Do Pass" basis in committee, but then the measure was postponed indefinitely. Still, the bill was a recognition that hunger among students is a sometimes hidden problem at colleges and universities in New Mexico.
The issue of hunger among college students is not as highly publicized as hunger in the general population, particularly among children, seniors and working families. But the concern is very real.
A team of UNM researchers--led by two Honors Program faculty members, Assistant Professor Sarita Cargas and Marygold Walsh-Dilley--began discussions last year on a plan to measure food insecurity at the University of New Mexico. Cargas and Walsh-Dilley have been an active participant in the Food, Hunger, Water, Agriculture Policy Action Team, a broad coalition seeking to find ways to reduce hunger in New Mexico.
In September 2020, the researchers released the first findings in a report entitled Basic Needs Insecurity at UNM: 2020 Research Report. The report was funded primarily by the Office of the Provost and Office of the Chancellor at UNM, but the UNM Honors College, Student Services, and the Office of Student Affairs also contributed financially to the project. In addition to the two lead researchers, Heather Mechler, Kathryn Coakley, Shoshana, Adler Jaffe and Ann Murphy were also part of the team. See full report
First Survey Conducted in April
The inaugural survey was conducted in April 2020, amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. According to the study, students were selected using a stratified random sampling method of all degree-seeking students at the Albuquerque UNM campus.
Factors in the sampling included low-income status (an expected family contribution of $5,576 as determined on a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid), level of study, gender, area of study, and ethnicity. The entire sample consisted of 12,000 students. Selected participants received an email two days before the survey launch informing them that they had been selected to participate in a survey about food and housing security among UNM students.
The survey invitation noted that the first 2,500 participants would receive a $10 Amazon gift card as a token of appreciation for their time. The survey remained open for two weeks, with two reminders sent to students who had not yet responded.
"The report found that roughly one-third of students surveyed were food insecure in April and four in 10 were housing insecure at one time or another during the previous year.
"Our findings indicate that one in three UNM students were food
insecure in April 2020 and over 40% were housing insecure sometime in
the previous year," added the executive summary. "Both food and housing insecurity prevalence are
higher at UNM than in the broader population of New Mexico. The United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that 16.8% of New Mexico
Households are food insecure. It is harder to compare ousing insecurity
because of a lack of consistent measurement strategies."
"Basic needs insecurity varies across demographic groups. At UNM, the demographic groups most affected by food insecurity include African Americans and American Indians; transgender and gender fluid students; and gay, lesbian, and bisexual students," the executive summary noted.
The need to address hunger among college students extends beyond UNM. The study at New Mexico's flagship university is just the beginning. There are other universities and colleges in the state where food insecurity is likely present among students, including New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico Tech in Socorro, Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, Western New Mexico University in Silver City, Santa Fe Community College, Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque and Northern New Mexico College in Española, among others. These are the largest institutions. There are a couple other dozen small colleges and branch campuses for the major institutions.
Housing InsecurityAccording to the UNM study, the students most affected by housing insecurity are: Hispanic, American Indian, and international students, and students who are two or more races; female, transgender, and gender fluid students; gay, lesbian and bisexual students and students who report that they are not sure of their sexuality; and students with dependents.
"Over one-fifth, or 20.5% of UNM students, experience a double burden of both food and housing insecurity," noted the study.
"Preliminary analysis suggests that basic needs insecurity contributes to poorer academic outcomes," the researchers concluded. "Students reporting food insecurity were more likely to withdraw from or fail a course, and also reported lower grade point averages. Thus, this report suggests that food and housing insecurity contributes to disparities in academic success across demographic groups."
The study offers only a snapshot of the problem at UNM, confirming a situation that researchers suspected already existed. The study recommends a broad approach to address the problem. "Food insecurity and housing insecurity are substantial problems for UNM students and require a comprehensive, systemic, and sustainable response," the study said. "Efforts to address basic needs on campus must be attentive to the stigma that may surround these issues. Additionally, many campus offices, resource centers, and departments must work together to address the problems of food and housing insecurity in the campus community. The needs are too great to be the purview of one office especially if that office has numerous other mandates."