Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thank You! Nancy Pope

As she leaves the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger, Nancy Pope is grateful and appreciative.
Ending hunger has been the most meaningful work of my career. Because of your work to end hunger I know you understand this also. I so appreciate being able to work with each of you over the past 4 + years - it has been an amazing journey!
A special Thank You reception was held for Nancy on Aug. 18
But Nancy Pope is also angry. Angry that hunger persists in so many areas.  She's angry at legislators for allowing it to continue.  In particular, she singled out the representatives of the 50 metropolitan areas that have the highest rate of insecurity, the majority of whom are Democrats.  (Even though all our anti-hunger efforts are bipartisan/nonpartisan, she made a point to single them out because she considers herself on the progressive end of the political spectrum).

It is this kind of passion that was the hallmark of Nancy's tenure as director of the Collaboration.  But it takes more than passion.  It takes great strategizing and partnering with the community.  Her ability to put these qualities together earned her great recognition.  In 2010, she won a place among the finalists for the Champions Against Hunger award,

One of the tasks of the Collaboration was to find a way more accurately measure the extent of hunger in our state in order to develop a five-year plan.  Here is the full plan (in PDF format)   The data was obtained through a series of consultations held in different communities around the state.

Under Nancy, the Collaboration also joined with Share Our Strength (SOS) to launch the No Kid Hungry New Mexico campaign, which is part of a broader national campaign.  The program was first implemented in states where there are strong anti-hunger coalitions already working on this issue.  And New Mexico is one of those states.

And if you're measuring statistics, a recent USDA report showed that New Mexico dropped out of the Top 10 among the most insecure states in the country.  "This means that we helped moved 28,000 New Mexicans out of food insecurity," Nancy said when the report was released in November 2010.  And yet, as we celebrated these trends, we also recognized that New Mexico had a 14.7% rate of food insecurity, leaving tens of thousands of other New Mexicans hungry.  For sure, there is work to be done.  But Nancy left a solid foundation for her successor to continue that very important work.

We certainly will miss Nancy here in New Mexico. We thank her for all her great work and wish her the best of luck in the next stage of her career.  (For me it's "see you next time," since I might catch up in Washington when I go to the nation's capital for the meeting of the Bread for the World board).

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