Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Season of Food Drives has Arrived; Please Give Generously

The driveway is full of leaves.  The air at night is cold.  And the grocery stores are already selling canned pumpkin, stuffing and turkeys.  For some of us in New Mexico, our meal might include some side dish made with green and red chile or squash (calabacitas). 

But we're getting ahead of ourselves a bit. There is one task that we must accomplish before starting to plan our holiday meal.  It doesn't take much effort, just mindfulness. Please remember that  the Letter Carriers Food Drive is this Saturday, November 17.  To help you remember, there is a paper bag inserted in today's edition of the Albuquerque Journal.  Please leave a bag full of food by your mailbox.

The food you donate will go a long ways to ensure that many needy families in our community have sufficient food during the holiday season.  In Albuquerque, the letter carriers will donate the food to Roadrunner Food Bank. So please go to your local grocery store and buy peanut butter, tuna, canned vegetables, beans (dry and canned).  Please don't use the occasion to empty your pantry of old food.

And  as long as we're talking about food collection, there are other things you can do during the season. 
  • ABQ Uptown shopping center will be taking turkeys, hams and other foods on November 17, the same day as the food drive.
  • You don't have to limit your food donation to a single day. Smith's grocery stores have set up barrels for you to place non-perishable food items during the entire month of November.
  • Starbucks locations in Albuquerque will "take the baton" from Smith's. Our friendly coffee shops will be collecting bags of non-perishable food items from Dec. 1 until Jan. 5.
  • And Roadrunner needs your help on Sunday, November 18, 8 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., to sort the food that has been donated...And Roadrunner has also designated December 8 as Volunteer on Saturday. They need folks to sort, repack food and fill food boxes from 8:00 a.m. until noon  Click here to volunteer or call (505) 349-8825 for either Saturday.
Advocacy is important too 
I have a couple of thoughts. With our country still facing an economic crisis, it is important to find ways to donate food during the entire year, particularly during the summer months.  

And I hope we do not confine our solidarity with poor and hungry people to just giving food.  There is a very real danger that programs that help many of these same families during the year, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), will be cut during the budget-deliberation process.  So please take a minute to write to our congressional delegation asking them to save funding for these programs. Click here for more information from Bread for the World.

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