Thursday, December 06, 2018

Delta Dental, APS to Host Food Insecurity Summit on January 8

Join Delta Dental of New Mexico and Albuquerque Public Schools for this first-time gathering of New Mexico business leaders to explore ideas to end food insecurity for our most vulnerable population: children.
Master of Ceremonies: Kristen Currie from KRQE
Please RSVP to by Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The Latest on the Hunger Council Proposal

Ellen Buelow, Rep. Joanne Ferrary
On Thursday, Nov. 8, Ellen Buelow and Brenda Sinfield, members of the steering committee of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition testified before the interim Legislative Health and Human Services committee of the New Mexico State Legislature. Rep. Joanne Ferrary of Las Cruces also spoke before the committee at a meeting chaired by Rep. Debbie Armstrong. 

The purpose of the testimony was to outline the progress made since the presentation of House Memorial 90 in February 2018, which proposed to create a Hunger Council within the State Legislature to address hunger in New Mexico on a broad and long-term basis, bringing in all the different constituencies affected by hunger.

Here is a report prepared by Ellen Buelow.

Panel Discusses House Memorial 90 at End Hunger Summit
Do you question if there is a solution for the underlying causes of food insecurity? The New Mexico Health and Human Services Legislative Committee is taking on food insecurity when the New Mexico Legislature convenes in January 2019.

 Our Interfaith Hunger Coalition enlisted a bipartisan effort in January 2018 when Representative Sarah Maestas Barnes (R) and Representative Joanne Ferrary (D) drafted Memorial 90, the first step to form a hunger council in the Legislature. (Rep. Maestas Barnes spoke about the memorial at the Fifth Annual End Hunger Summit in Albuquerque in September 2018. Here is a video).

Following this was the planning meeting in June at Roadrunner Food Bank to prioritize next steps and form a steering committee. On November 8, Rep Joanne Ferrary, Brenda Sinfield and Ellen Buelow presented a report to the interim committee hearing in Santa Fe.

Working with Representative Joanne Ferrary (Doña Ana County) Brenda and Ellen along with Alissa Barnes (director for community initiatives for Road Runner Food Bank) drafted a one pager with these issues. Statistics are from Feeding America and The Hunger in America Study 2014.

Eliminate Childhood Hunger in New Mexico
*25-27% of NM children are food insecure

Support working families to have access to affordable and healthy foods
*53% of hungry households include at least one person who has worked in the past 12 months/89% have permanent housing such as a home or an apartment

Supply adequate food for New Mexico seniors
*21% of those fed at *RRFB are seniors and 16% are grandparents raising grandchildren

Then this action plan for the 2019 NM Legislature included:
  • Oppose the food tax as the cost of food increases exponentially for families in lower income brackets and NM has the highest rates of hunger in the USA.
  • Create a hunger council at the legislative level separately with key players and use this to support all policy and funding changes needed.
  • Share a coordinator with the Senior AG program
Here is your call to action.
Keep your New Mexico representatives and senators accountable as the hunger council is formed within the legislature. Check on updates for legislation that ensures food security and call or email as a constituent. Attend hearings as committees meet. To see updates on legislation and members of committees, visit the New Mexico State Legislature website.

The House Health and Human Services Committee is especially important.  Also, keep an eye on these committees in the House: Agriculture and Water Resources, Taxation and Revenue, Labor and Economic Development and in the Senate: Finance 

*Note. As of Dec. 4, committee assignments for newly elected legislators have not been made public Here is the list of winners in the November 2018 election (those without an asterisk are the new members).

Thursday, November 29, 2018

La Cosecha CSA, St. John XXIII Food Pantry Featured at IHC Meeting

Bonnie Thornton of La Cosecha CSA, a project of the Agri-Cultura Network, was the featured presenter at our bimonthly meeting of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition on Nov. 27. We also heard from Jerry Culak and Maria Duran, who manage the food pantry at St. John XXIII Catholic Community.

Bonnie Thornton (right) from Agri-Cultura Network and La Cosecha CSA was the featured presenter
La Cosecha CSA is a community supported agriculture project of Agri‑Cultura Network which is made up of more than 9 local farms committed to using sustainable practices and growing food for our community. We offer members the opportunity to invest in local farms and receive weekly bags of locally grown, sustainably produced, fresh fruits & vegetables as the return on your investment.
Jerry Culak and Maria Duran spoke about the food pantry at St. John XXIII Catholic Community
The Pantry Room contains shelves with assorted canned and boxed items of donated food from parishioners. Three times a year, usually February, June and September, we make a formal request for food supplies through the “Caring and Sharing “program. We also buy food from Roadrunner Food Bank at a minimal rate.

Friday, November 16, 2018

A Friendly Reminder from Your Mail Box

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, letter carriers in the metro area pick up food donations left near mailboxes or community mailboxes.

The annual food drive is part of a national campaign organized every fall by the National Association of Letter Carrierd, the Rural Letter Carriers Association and the United States Postal Service. In New Mexico, donations will go to Roadrunner Food Bank, the Food Depot and other local food banks.

It’s easy to participate. Fill a bag with non-perishable food and leave it near your mailbox before your letter carrier arrives on Saturday, November 17. Use any bag or box to place the food items. Alternatively, you can take your donations to your neighborhood post office, where a bin has been set up for customers to deposit their food items. (The bin is also there for postal customers whose address is a post office box).

Roadrunner Food Bank has developed this list of suggested non-perishable food items for folks to donate.
  • Beans
  • Boxed Meals
  • Canned Meats
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Fruit
  • Cereal
  • Condiments
  • Pasta
  • Peanut Butter/Jelly
  • Rice
  • Sauces
  • Any Pop Top Single Serve Item

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Sunday

Dan Lillie and religious leaders from Christian, Jewish, and Islamic congregations will lead the service, with music by our massed choir and hand bells. A reception will follow, with light snacks and beverages. With speakers and musicians from Albuquerque Mennonite Church, Congregation Albert, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Dar al Salam, First Congregational United Church of Christ, First Unitarian Church, Holy Rosary Catholic Church, the Lighthouse of New Mexico, Monte Vista Christian Church, St. Luke Lutheran Church, St. Paul Lutheran Church, and St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Remer-Thaemert Receives Justice Award at Global Interfaith Gathering

Parliament of the World's Religions Justice Award - to an individual or organization whose commitment to interfaith cooperation has demonstrably advanced justice in the world.
The interfaith community of New Mexico is beaming with pride because one of our own received a special recognition at the 2018 Parliament of the World's Religions gathering in Toronto on Nov. 1-7. Justin Remer-Thaemert, executive director of the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, received the Justice Award. This was one of seven awards that were presented this year.

Congratulations Justin, for doing us proud!

Here is photograph, courtesy of Donna Kangeter

Friday, November 09, 2018

Learn More About Community-Supported Agriculture in #ABQ

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. -U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Spanish word la cosecha translates to the harvest in English. This is the term that the Agri-Cultura Network has chosen for its community-supported agriculture (CSA) in the South Valley of Albuquerque.

La Cosecha CSA is comprised of nine local farms committed to using sustainable practices and growing food for our community. "We offer members the opportunity to invest in local farms and receive weekly bags of locally grown, sustainably produced, fresh fruits and vegetables as the return on your investment," the cooperative said in its website.

To learn more about La Cosecha CSA, please join us at our bimonthly meeting of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition on Tuesday, November 27, at First Presbyterian Church (I-25 and Martin Luther King Blvd.) at 12:00 Noon. A leader from La Cosecha (either Helga Garza or Bonnie Thornton) will be our guest presenter.

We will also have the opportunity to hear from the managers of pantry of St. John XXIII Catholic Community, an endorsing partner of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition. The parish is located in a part of Albuquerque of town that is not known as a "low-income." Yet, the pantry has numerous clients with legitimate needs. (A representative of a second pantry with similar circumstances, run by a Presbyterian church, has also been invited to speak). 

Thursday, November 01, 2018

NMIPL Annual Gathering: Our Response During 'theTwilight'

"Twilight: A time of pause when nature changes her guard...." -Howard Thurman
New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light invites the public to its Annual Fall Gathering

Twilight: A Time to Pause, Community Reflections in a Time of Climate Change

Thursday, November 15, 6:30 pm
Albuquerque Mennonite Church,
1300 Girard NE, Albuquerque (map)

Join participants in reflecting upon the "twilight" time we find ourselves in. What sustains us? What wisdom can we share? How shall we proceed knowing so much and yet sometimes feeling so small as we face an enormous reality? What inspires us? What new directions call to us?

The event will feature an interfaith prayer, including music by Eileen and the In-Betweens
and a celebration of SEED and SPROUT Awardees

Additionally, a panel will discuss environmental issues and how we respond to these concerns.
  • Michelle Otero: Albuquerque Poet Laureate
  • Larry Rasmussen: Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary, New York, Santa Fe, Earth Ethicist, writer and lecturer)
  • Laura Paskus: Award winning journalist covering climate change, water and love of environment and communities in New Mexico, NM In Focus regular
  • (See videos below)
Refreshments and community sharing will follow
Information, 505-566-6966. RSVP NMIPL Facebook

Michelle Otero

Laura Paskus

Larry Rasmussen

Event will be streamed and on You Tube.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Handful of Essays on Unity and Diversity

Unity and Diversity is the theme of the latest edition of Oneing journal, published twice a year by the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque. The topic is more relevant than ever, in the wake of nearly 2,000 tragic mass shootings (many of which qualify as hate crimes) that have occurred in our country in less than a decade.

Here are a few excerpts from  Oneing,Volume 6, No. 2, including articles by people I know and respect: Richard Rohr,  Joan Brown and  John Dear.  I also had the privilege to write a piece for this edition of Oneing.

Today we see unabashed racism, classism, and sexism return to America at the highest levels of our government. White privilege is back in charge and the outcry is faint.  -Richard Rohr (Introduction)
Every one of us--every human being, every drop of water, every molecule, every bird, each grain of sand, and each mountain, is distinct or different. Each is a unique manifestation of Divine Love Energy. The universe thrives upon, and cannot exist without, diversity.  Joan Brown OSF  (Embracing Diversity through the Cosmic Principles)

If every human being is our very sister or brother, we would not dare hurt anyone, much less sit back silently or passively in the face of global suffering, endless wars, poverty, and killing. Neither can we ignore the millions of creatures going extinct because of our system of violence or remain indifferent in the face of systemic greed and the potential for environmental destruction from nuclear weapons. Knowing our oneness with creation, we would never harm Mother Earth or passively sit back while others unearth fossil fuels, heedless of the consequences of climate change. John Dear (Unity and Diversity in the Land of Nonviolence)

The mandate for individuals to come together to act to end hunger and care for those who lack basic necessities is found in our holy scriptures and in the words of important figures across faith traditions. In almost all religious traditions, the connection between our relationship with God and with our neighbor is at the core of our beliefs.   Carlos Navarro (Finding Collaborative Unity on the Issue of Hunger)

God has an incredible sense of humor. Paradoxically, we are each a unique creation, expected to love another across our differences. No two people are identical This seems to be the most difficult challenge to embrace, yet it can yield the most beneficial lessons.  Polly Baca. (My Challenging Journey from Diversity to Unity)
These are just five of the 16 authors with pieces in this edition of Oneing.  If you want to order a copy of the journal, please visit the CAC's online bookstore.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Radio Interview with Katie Morris and Her Work with CRS

On Wednesday, October 24, Catholic Radio broadcast an interview with Katie Morris on the Archbishop's Hour about her experiences working for Catholic Relief Services in sub-Saharan Africa, including her latest assignment in Ethiopia and her first posting in Malawi. Morris also spoke of her experiences in the Dominican Republic and Uruguay while volunteering with the non-profit organization Amigos de las Americas. At the beginning of the interview, she speaks of the influence that St. John XXIII Catholic Community, a parish that promotes the values of the Second Vatican Council, had on shaping her vocation to work in poor countries. Morris is currently back home in Albuquerque, on an extended leave from her work with CRS.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the interview
On her first assignment for CRS in Malawi

"..They call [Malawi] the warm heart of Africa.  And I certainly found that to be true.  [There was  immediate warmth and acceptance from people]  In a country that was profoundly affected by HIV. At that time, the prevalence rate was 18 percent.  It's much lower now. CRS role was mostly working home based and paliative     (minute 28)

On the steps that Ethiopia has taken to prevent the recurrence of the tragic famine that hit the country in the 1980s.
"It's really important to know that famine is no longer a part of the vocabulary in Ehiopia. The government of Ethiopia took that experience from the 1980s very seriously and they deserve a lot of credit. It's a global model--this public safety-net program. Essentially, they identify who they think are the poorest of the poor, the most vulnerable households who can't rely on traditional means of subsistence agriculture to feed their family. A member or multiple members of the family will complete public works or social infrastructure programs as determined by the local government. And CRS and our local partners work with them which initiatives those are or maybe should be. They put in a certain amount of time and then receive six months of food or cash transfers in return for their participation."  (minute 37)

Here is a Link to the audio of the interview, courtesy of host Mary Woods. (You might need a dropbox account to access the audio.  You can access Dropbox via Google).  The first 10 minutes are announcements, with background on CRS beginning at about minute 10. The interview with Katie Morris starts at about Minute 16.

Katie Morris also spoke briefly of her experiences with CRS at the recent World Food Day event in Albuquerque on Oct. 14.  Here is a blog post with a video of her reflection.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Bread For the World President Urges You to Vote

Dear Bread members and supporters:
Elections matter, especially for people of faith. The scriptures underscore the importance of good governance and show that wise leaders uphold justice and the common good.

The leaders we elect this year will make decisions that impact people who struggle with hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.    Get Election Resources

Voting is an act of Christian stewardship — an important use of the gift of discernment. It is also our fundamental right of living in a democracy. We must seize this opportunity to elect leaders who will put us on track to end hunger by 2030.

By raising your voice, you show there is a large constituency ready to advocate for change in the service of God.

Click here to find your polling place

Now, go vote to end hunger!

Rev. David Beckmann
President, Bread for the World

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Baha'i-Muslim Collaboration to Feed Hungry People in #ABQ

By Caroline Hess


On October 14, I presented at the World Food Day commemoration sponsored by the Interfaith Hunger Coalition, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light and others. After the event, Imam Abdur Rauf from The Lighthouse of New Mexico invited the Bahá’ís to join their efforts to feed the homeless once a week.

In a small room of their center on Thursday, four Muslims (one, a JR Youth), two other women and myself assembled bags with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fresh fruit, a juice box, snacks, and water. Another woman made a hot dish that was also given to the people. After that,  we drove around and gave the bags to those who didn’t get into a shelter for the night.The people knew the Muslims and the they knew many of the people by name. We fed about 90 people last night.

We knew that we were not making a dent in the problem but that it is about community coming together. The hope is with a interfaith connection, this effort can expand to Friday.

You Can Help
If you want to help with the assembling and/or distribution of food on Thursday afternoons, send message e-mail to The Lighthouse of New Mexico via its home page (scroll down), send an e-mail to or call 505-750-7806  

There is also a donation box outside the community building, 3420 Constitution Ave. NE, Suite C, to drop off your non-perishable foods and other items.  

Here is a needs list:
  • individual cookies and chips
  • water
  • 100% juice boxes or pouches
  • disposable gloves (to make the sandwichs with)
  • jelly
  • peanut butter
  • bread
  • ziplock sandwich bags
  • snack individually wrapped
  • fresh fruit
  • socks
  • jackets
  • gloves
  • sweat pants
  • baseball caps
  • blankets

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Salam Academy Benefit: Moonlight in Marrakech

Let your senses be overwhelmed and ignited with the scented oil lamps, vibrant fabrics and enchanting music. Relax in the Kasbah and dine on a delectable African inspired dinner created by Chef Ahmed Obo from Jambo Cafe. Enjoy full and rich flavors with every bite. Traditional Moroccan desserts, tea and coffee will be served
Salam Academy invites the public to discover all the magic and intrigue of the mysterious Moroccan city of Marrakech at its benefit dinner on Saturday, November 10, 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the African American Performing Arts Center, 310 San Pedro NE (NM State Fairgrounds).

This special event will feature a full dinner buffet, catered by Chef Ahmed Obo of Jambo Cafe, a best dressed competition for those who choose to wear traditional attire, live music, a silent auction, free Henna Art by High Desert Henna, Moroccan style souk, and much more. City Councilor Pat Davis is a featured guest speaker. Tickets: Adult $39, Child (ages 10-13) $29  Childcare provided at Salam Academy ages 9 and under. $5 per child. Pizza included   Buy Tickets