For example, there was the blurb about the Albuquerque Bar Association's forum on Tuesday, Jan. 6, about the legal rights of the poor in New Mexico.
The one story that caught my attention, however, was the one-on-one interview with Melody Wattenbarger, director of the Roadrunner Food Bank. The story was carried in the Business Outlook section. My guess is that many readers do not pick up this section, since most articles are business-oriented. But that's just a guess.
Still, I credit the Journal and Assistant Business Editor Autumn Gray for choosing to interview Ms. Wattenbarger, a very dedicated member of our anti-hunger and anti-poverty community in New Mexico.
Since online access to the Journal is restricted to subscribers, I will run excerpts from the interview that I found most compelling.
Q: How much have you seen hunger and poverty increase in the state in the last year, or in the last few months as the recession has worsened?I also found this question very interesting....
A: I'm entering my 23rd year doing this kind of work. I have never received the kinds of calls and inquiries as I am receiving now. For one thing, we're receiving requests for food help via e-mail, which I don't remember until the last few months that ever happening. And the e-mails are coming from places you would recognize — businesses and places that you would know, and the people who are working there need help. We started seeing it as a consequence of all of the inflation — the inflation in fuel, which is now reversed, but fuel drove up the price of things and the price of those things has not dropped, like food. People were just finding that their salaries weren't making it anymore. It just didn't stretch far enough.
Q: So hunger is no longer that far removed from the local business world?If you have a delivery and/or online subscription to the Journal, click here to read the full piece.
A: I can't say where those e-mails are coming from. I wouldn't say. But Business Outlook readers have employees who are at work sending e-mails to the food bank saying I can't feed my kids. And we're seeing huge percentage increases — 30 and 40 percent increases (in people in need) from the organizations that we serve. And the numbers were high already. A lot of those people are new, brand new, people who never needed help before. Some of them have even said to us, 'Last year I was your donor, and this year I need your help.'