Friday, August 31, 2012

August in Palomas: Beans, Peanut Butter, Shoes and Blood Pressure/Glucose Testing

By Victoria Tester 

On August 21st and 22nd, beans were distributed by Esperanza Lozoya and volunteers at the Outreach building in Palomas, Chihuahua, just across the border from Columbus, N.M.

Mike Odom, founder and director of Dos Manos, a Taos-based organization created to bring hope to the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, observed and aided in the distributions.
This effort is in addition to the many services that Lozoya and Palomas Outreach have provided for long-time members of the community as well as recent arrivals.  They include a summer feeding program, a school supply drive, and distribution of Easter baskets.

Bags of beans were set up in the courtyard, and representatives of families brought their id's and containers to receive equal shares of beans, along with small tubs of peanut butter.

Temperatures were high, but volunteers worked hard to serve the many Palomas families whose ability to procure daily food has become increasingly difficult. As always, beans are distributed without religious or cultural discrimination.
"It's an honor to serve the Tarahumara and other indigenous peoples here at the border and in Chihuahua. We are a rainbow of volunteers who do this work, and we serve a rainbow of people. I got off a bus the other day in a town hours from here and was suddenly surrounded by a group of Tarahumara women, smiling and kissing my cheek because they knew me from my work here in Palomas. It filled my heart." -- Esperanza Hope Lozoya
The daily meal for seniors and the disabled served by dedicated volunteers, and blood pressure and glucose monitoring, were also in progress.

Trip to Palomas Landfill
A special trip was also made to the Palomas landfill, where families are scavenging to get by. I admire these people who do the hard and horrible work they must to keep going.

At first it is hard to tell that the figure walking towards me, who turns out to be the mother of the little boy, is a woman -- the women here at the landfill work like men, their hair shoved under hats, their clothes shapeless, their faces and arms as blackened with grime. She agrees I should photograph her so that others can know about the hardships in Palomas.

The little boy who's been working alongside her is sad at being photographed. The Superman shirt he's wearing doesn't give him any magical powers against his reality -- endless hours spent digging in the dangerous, colorless world of the landfill so those he loves can live on what others have thrown away. His grandfather, who also approaches, is a brick-maker. He can make two to three thousand bricks at a time, if he gets the order, and yes, the fired bricks can go across the border. But orders for bricks, like so many other good things, are very slow in Palomas. I leave, shaken by their expressions of faith in the God who helps them.

Distributing Shoes
On August 22nd, new child shoes were fitted and distributed to 218 children in the main plaza in Colonia Guadalupe Victoria.

Lozoya and volunteers have fitted and distributed nearly 1000 pairs of new child shoes in Palomas, nearby Colonias Modelo and Guadalupe Victoria from April to August 2012, thanks to a generous shoe donation from a church in Mesilla, New Mexico.

These shoes help more children attend school. They also mean families can use what little money they have to buy food.

Rising Cost of Food
Lozoya and volunteers returned to the colonia the next day, August 23rd, to distribute, under police guard, nearly one thousand pounds of beans, again in the main plaza.

I talk to a woman in Colonia Guadalupe Victoria. I see the drought in her gentle brown eyes and in the tired faces of many others. She exclaims over the dramatically risen price of beans and now, eggs. "We used to be able to afford at least our beans, or an egg. Hasta donde nos mandan? What are they driving us to?" We look around at the hundreds of people in the plaza waiting for their portion of beans. Most can no longer look forward to a daily meal. This, this is what they are being driven to.

The quarters of a Mixtec migrant worker group from Guerrero state who attended the distribution were also visited, and the next day Lozoya returned to inquire about their obvious need.

A special September visit is planned to aid the Mixtec migrant workers, whose situation is especially dire.

(All photos courtesy of Victoria Tester)

Contact Information
Esperanza Hope Lozoya has lived and worked among the poor of Palomas and rural Chihuahua for the past nine years. She can be reached at or 575-936-0417 or P.O. Box 38, Columbus, N.M., 88029

Victoria Tester, who has assisted Lozoya with her efforts in Palomas since December 2009, recently joined the board of Dos Manos as exective director. She can be reached at She has written several pieces on the ongoing efforts in Palomas for the Bread New Mexico blog.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

CARE Reports on the Aftermath of Isaac in Haiti

Before Isaac began hammering the the coast of Louisiana with heavy and constant rain, the tropical storm/hurricane caused havoc in the Caribbean (including Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and parts of Florida.  Below is a report from CARE about the impact of the storm on Haiti.  (And here is a link to updates).

Photo from CARE
August 28 

Dear friends: 
Early Saturday morning the storm hit Haiti with heavy rains and severe winds, causing power outages, forcing rivers and streams to overflow, and making shelters and houses collapse, in some cases on top of their residents.

On my trip to Haiti last week I had the opportunity to visit Carrefour, near Port-au-Prince. Unfortunately, Carrefour is one of the areas hardest hit by this storm. Our country director in Haiti reports that emergency shelters are now leaking and flooding. Water is rushing through poorly constructed drainage, eroding precarious hillsides and ravines, and overwhelming sanitation systems..

CARE's staff in Haiti is hard at work addressing the immediate issues: shelter, clean water, and sanitation.

Yesterday we distributed tarps to 1,000 families in Carrefour, where Isaac blew off rooftops and caused flooding. We're planning to distribute shelter materials like tarps, ropes, and nails to an additional 3,000 families living inside and outside of camps. As residents of Carrefour began dealing with the rubble and damage from the storm, we also began giving out water purification tablets, soaps, shovels, wheelbarrows, picks, and cleaning supplies..

Despite all the damage, the situation could have been much worse had the storm reached full hurricane force when it made landfall. We're relieved that Haiti avoided that disastrous scenario..

As ever, we continue to do whatever is needed to help Haiti keep rebuilding back strong.


Tolli Love 
Vice President, CARE.

P.S. CARE's commitment to communities in times of crisis extends well beyond immediate relief like clean water, shelter, water purification tablets, and medical care. In Haiti and around the world our staff help empower entire communities to rebuild and make them less vulnerable to natural disasters in the future. I hope you'll consider making a gift to support both our emergency response work and long-term poverty fighting programs all around the world. Click here to make a donation

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

God's Handwriting

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A New Labor Day Tradition: The Wild Goose Festival West

What is your favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition? A picnic? A parade? A cookout?  A campout?  According to the All U.S.A. Holiday's site, there are seven traditions associated with this holiday.  There could be another tradition starting up in Benton County, Oregon, this coming Labor Day weekend: The Wild Goose Festival West, scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 2, in Benton County, in west-central Oregon.
 Bryan McFarland helps with Morning Prayers
This a parallel event to the original Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina, which celebrated its second year of existence in June. As I mentioned in an earlier post, both Wild Goose Festivals are modeled after the Greenbelt festival in England.  They are outdoor events that bring together justice, spirituality and art.

Bread for the World had a strong presence in the Wild Goose East.  Bread president David Beckmann was one of the speakers.  And Bread member Bryan McFarland and his group Jacob's Join hosted "A Concert for Justice."  Bryan also helped with a worship session with the Rev. Brian McLaren. "Brian graciously asked me to provide some accompaniment for his daily Morning Prayer sessions," said Bryan.
And of course, Bread volunteers staffed a display with information about our organization and our campaigns.
Bread for the World will have more low-key role at the Wild Goose West.  Western Regional Organizer Matt Newell-Ching and volunteers will staff  "Hunger Action Center" set up in the exhibit hall.

The lineup of speakers  includes a couple of names that are familiar to me: Brian McLaren and Father Richard Rohr from the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque. And here is the lineup of musicians.  The festival will have a strong emphasis on two very important themes: justice and sacred space.  Art, interfaith activities, programs for children and youth, and film will also be an important part of this new Labor Day tradition.    

Saturday, August 25, 2012

David Beckmann's Gazpacho Recipe

Bread for the World members and the anti-hunger, anti-poverty community know our friend David Beckmann as a tireless anti-hunger advocate who heads a very effective advocacy organization.

But few us knew much about David's culinary skills. But thanks to the International Justice Mission, which posts a Recipe for Change in its blog every week, we now hav David's gazpacho recipe.    

The Recipe for Change campaign features a tomato recipe from a guest contributor, to bring awareness to the issue of slavery in America’s tomato fields. Join us this summer in taking action to establish a zero-tolerance policy for slavery and other serious abuses on Florida’s tomato farms   Ask major supermarket chains to endorse the Fair Food Program
My version cuts out the bread (no carbs!) included in traditional gazpacho. I use apple cider vinegar and fresh tomatoes from the farmers market. This gazpacho takes 20-30 minutes to prepare.  It takes me 30 minutes since I prefer to take out the tomato and cucumber seeds first. If you want a traditional gazpacho, I refer you to my good friend Mark Bittman’s cookbook, How to Cook Everything.*”  – David Beckmann
Okay, now that you know about David's recipe, perhaps you want to give it a go at making his version of this this typical dish from southern Spain.  Click here to see the recipe in the ICJ blog.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps Invites You to Learn More about GROW

Kalen Olsen
Kalen Olsen and Jasmine McBeath, grassroots volunteer leaders for Oxfam Action Corps in New Mexico, invite you to join them and Oxfam organizer Brian Rawson this Sunday for a discussion of Oxfam's GROW campaign. They will examine how the campaign's principles are being promoted locally and around the world.

If you recall, on a recent Saturday, Oxfam Action Corps set up a display and informational table at the Downtown Growers Market at Robinson Park with information about GROW.

GROW aims to build a better food system: one that sustainably feeds a growing population (estimated to reach nine billion by 2050) and empowers poor people to earn a living, feed their families, and thrive. 

Here is more information about Sunday's meeting:
Sunday, August 26
Flying Star Café
723 Silver Ave SW
 5:00 p.m.

If you are unable to come to this meeting, there will be another opportunity on Wednesday, September 26, also at the Flying Star Café.  The September meeting starts at 6:00 p.m.

For more information, contact Kalen Olsen or Jasmine McBeath,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

You are Invited to A Circle of Protection Prayer Vigil on October 13 in Albuquerque

Photo courtesy of Laura Elizabeth Pohl, Bread for the World
For those of us who live in Albuquerque, the second  Saturday of October is special.   This is the culmination of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a magical time when hundreds of colorful hot air balloons fill the skies.

This year, another special event is scheduled in Albuquerque for the second Saturday in October.  Please join us for an evening of prayer and reflection.  Our vigil, Electing to Form a Circle of Protection in New Mexico, will help us to ground ourselves spiritually and reflect on the social justice that our Creator wants for all people on Earth.

We will follow the same format as last year's vigil, using prayers, reflections and songs.  We will end the evening with fair-trade refreshments and an opportunity to sign letters asking the candidates seeking to represent us in the U.S. Senate (Martin Heinrich and Heather Wilson) and the First Congressional District (Janice Arnold Jones and Michelle Lujan Grisham) to protect the programs that help the most vulnerable in our society.   We will deliver the signed letters to the local headquarters of the four candidates before the November 6 election.  Ms. Arnold Jones and Ms. Lujan Grisham were among the five candidates with whom we met after last year's vigil.  Here is more information about those visits.

Our planning team (Sister Joan Brown, Joy Carroll, Terese Bridges, Ellen Buelow and Carlos Navarro) hopes you can join us this year.  Here is the information for your calendars.

Electing to Form a Circle of Protection
Immanuel Presbyterian Church 
114 Carlisle SE (Nob Hill)
Saturday, October 13  
5:00 p.m.

Fair-trade refreshments will be served.

Please bring non-perishable food and other items to donate to local refugee communites

Here is the liturgy and a couple of videos of our procession last year.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gardening Our Way Out of Hunger

By Hank Bruce
(Bread for the World member, Rio Rancho, N.M.)

A good friend of ours, Yvonne Scott, has just released a powerful little book about one of the key sustainable solutions to global hunger.

We strongly endorse this book, entitled,  simply garden small! End hunger, restore health with creative micronutrient-rich food-growing strategies from around the world,and encourage you to invest $0.99 in a well written book on thinking small and family gardening with little or no cost. 

This is what Yvonne, a former New Mexico resident, has to say about her brand new book.
Growing food has been part of my life almost since I could walk. Because of my gardens, and those of my grandparents, we never hungered even during times of little or no income. A burning question for me has always been: how can we allow our sisters and brothers to hunger in a world of plenty and why are our 'best efforts' to deal with hunger through food banks and humanitarian aid, NOT WORKING?

Those questions inspired my search for less complex and far less costly ways to get nutrient-rich foods growing quickly--and more conveniently--for those who need it most. And these little garden ideas from all around the world do exactly that! My hope is for this small manual to become another tool in the toolbox we use to dismantle hunger, rebuild hope and nurture empowerment.  
The book is available on Kindle via for the introductory price of 99 cents.  Click here to purchase the book. No Kindle? No problem. Here's the link to the Kindle free reading app. for computer, iphone or ipad.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

You Are Invited to the Launch of ONE Vote 2012 in New Mexico

The ONE Campaign has launched or is about to launch its ONE Vote 2012 campaign in many states around the country, and New Mexico is on the list.  

Here is a note from ONE about this very important campaign

ONE Vote 2012 is a non-partisan campaign to make global health and extreme poverty foreign policy priorities in the 2012 presidential election. The next president will take office at a critical time when there are effective and affordable solutions available that save lives: vaccines that cost less than one dollar can prevent unnecessary death. A $10 bed net can keep a child from dying from a mosquito bite. With the force of 3 million members, ONE Vote 2012 will educate and mobilize voters to ensure that the next American president is committed to using the United States' strategic power to help end extreme poverty, creating a safer and more stable world. ONE Vote 2012 is part of ONE, a broad and growing movement of Americans from all fifty states and all walks of life.
The kick-off for ONE Vote 2012 is tomorrow (Thursday), August 16.   Here are the details:

Crowne Plaza Hotel
1901 University Blvd NE
6:00-8:00 P.M.

Please RSVP on this link if you plan to attend

There will be discussion, guest speakers, representatives from both major parties, informational sessions and appetizers! Feel free to stay and hang out throughout the event to elaborate mo
re on how you can give your support.

Please stay tuned for more information about how the campaign will work here in Albuquerque and the rest of New Mexico.   

Monday, August 13, 2012

David Beckmann's Visit to Albuquerque in 1994

Almost  18 years ago, in September of 1994, Bread for the World President David Beckmann was a featured speaker at a joint conference we organized with the New Mexico Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry, or LOGM, (now Lutheran Advocacy Ministry, or LAM).

David Beckmann & Richard Rohr
The other featured speaker was Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque.  Emily Bauermaister Abbott was our Bread regional organizer, and I had recently taken the grassroots leadership role in Albuquerque from Rev. Howard Corry, Lutheran campus pastor at the University of New Mexico.  Nima Ward was the LOGM director. Ruth Hoffman has since replaced her as director of this very effective state legislative adovcacy organization.

David Beckmann talks to KOB-TV
I can't remember how many people attended, but my guess is that we must have had at least 100 participants, and possibly more.  Most were from Albuquerque, but some folks drove here from Santa Fe, Farmington and Las Cruces.

We put together several great workshops on very interesting topics, including migrant worker rights, world hunger, advocacy, etc..

Our team did such a good job promoting the conference that the local NBC affiliate, KOB-TV, came out to interview David for the early newscast on Saturday afternoon.

I happened to find a cassette tape (YES, a CASSETTE TAPE!) with David's keynote address during lunch.

Below is an excerpt from September 24, 1994.
I've been struck that Bread for the World in New Mexico has had a real influence on your delegation.  On this year's main campaign, A Child is Waiting, which is a campaign to get guaranteed full funding for the WIC program as part of health care reform, Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Bill Richardson are cosponsors of the legislation.

Sen. Pete Domenici doesn't always vote with us, but he has repeatedly shown up at Bread for the World events. He makes it his business to get to these receptions.  He knows about the Bread for the World presence  in New Mexico. And we're not talking about a lot of people--I' think it's 200 members in New Mexico or something like that.

And there's a little group that meets once a month, so that they remind each other to write letters.  But even though it's just a little group, Sen. Domenici knows you're there, and because of that, he's a real leader on international child survival issues.  He's a fan of the WIC program, and he came to WIC's 20th Birthday Party on Capitol Hill.  He knows that Bread for the World in New Mexico is a real presence to deal with.  
Read More Excerpts

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Oxfam's Table at the Albuquerque Downtown Growers Market

Kalen Olsen, the grassroots volunteer for Oxfam America in Albuquerque, set up a table at the Downtown Growers Market on Saturday to tell people about Oxfam's GROW Food. Justice Planet campaign. Kalen is looking for volunteers to help spread the word about the campaign and to assist in other local events related to fair trade and other food issues.  If you're interested, drop her a note to: or like the NM Oxfam Action Corps page on Facebook.

Here is why August 25 is Important

You should put a big check mark on your calendar on Saturday, August 25.  Here's why. You have an opportunity to help to great organizations: Habitat for Humanity and Project Share, which are hosting a fundraiser that day.  (The fundraiser for Habitat also happens on Sunday).

Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church will the site of the 15th Annual Chile Festival  to benefit Habitat for Humanity. This popular community gathering offers visitors great entertainment, wonderful arts and crafts, hot chile, delicious food, and an exciting silent auction. 

Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church is located on (1801 Montaño Rd. near Rio Grande Blvd. in Albuquerque)

Chile Festival features green chile roasting
GENERAL ADMISSION IS FREE! The organizers invite you to join them from 9-4 on Saturday and 11-4 on Sunday.

Harvest Bake Sale Benefits Project Share

Also on August 25, Project Share invites you to a Harvest and Bake Sale from 10 am until 2:00 pm. The sale will be held at the Project Share Garden, 1515 Yale SE

Project Share has provided a warm meal and safe environment to 150 to 200 people six days a week since the early 1980s.  The organization also offers clothing and other items.  Volunteers are welcomed.

And as long are you're marking your calendars, here's another Project Share fundraiser coming in September.

Full Hearts Empty Bowls
Date: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Time:11am - 2pm
Location:  Project Share, 1515 Yale SE

For just $25, this unique benefit  includes the sale of extraordinary bowls/pottery donated by New Mexico’s talented potters (you receive a $10 coupon towards pottery with your $25 admission!), eating delicious soups, breads and desserts from some of Albuquerque's finest restaurants, stores and bakeries, while listening to the  fantastic live local entertainment of The Alpha Blue Trio and Chris Dracup. There is also a "to die for" silent auction and lots of other fun surprises waiting for you at this event. Do NOT miss it this year!

Click here (and scroll to the bottom of the page)  to buy tickets online  

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Looking at Long-Term Solutions to Combat Drought

Remember the global food crisis of 2008, when a sharp increase in the price of corn had a snowball effect on other commodities?  The combination of drought and the decision by the U.S. government to make a major push to promote biofuels (primarily through corn) unleashed a wave of market speculation that brought prices to unprecedented levels.  Here is what The New York Times said  on April 10, 2008.
Last year, the food import bill of developing countries rose by 25 percent as food prices rose to levels not seen in a generation. Corn doubled in price over the last two years. Wheat reached its highest price in 28 years. The increases are already sparking unrest from Haiti to Egypt. Many countries have imposed price controls on food or taxes on agricultural exports.
Read full New York Times editorial.

 (photo courtesy of Alternative Heat, Creative Commons)
Extended hot and dry conditions have hammered in the breadbasket of the U.S. (Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin)  this summer, at a crucial period of development in the corn and soybean crops.  

The  U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 88 percent of this year’s corn crop and 77 percent of the soybean crop are now affected by the most severe drought since 1988.  This has led to predictions of much smaller-than-anticipated production, which could eventually result in higher prices. 

Corn prices in July rose to around $9 a bushel, a 50 percent increase from June, while soybeans are selling at a record high of $17 a bushel as a result of drought-related losses in crop yields.

Fortunately, a slight change in the weather in the Midwest corn- and soybean-producing offered a glimmer of hope in early August, as cooler temperatures and rain brought temporary relief to crops.  Read Aug. 8 article from Reuters.

But the damage has been done, and we are sure to see some increase in prices.  “The increased prices may benefit farmers in the short run,” said Danielle Nierenberg, director of the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project, “but consumers will experience the aftermath of price increases in the form of more money spent on poultry, beef, pork, and dairy products.”  

And prices are not necessarily controlled by simple supply and demand for a commodity.  As I mentioned earlier in this post, there is that other factor called price speculation.   

But the the Worldwatch Institute argues that we should take the opportunity to consider the long-term picture. 
Climate change is making it increasingly important to protect local agriculture in the United States and address the issues underlying its vulnerability to natural disasters, such as drought. “Fixing our broken food system is about more than just food prices,” said Nierenberg. “It’s about better management of natural resources, equitable distribution, and the right to healthy and nutritious food.”
The Nourishing the Planet project highlights 12 agricultural innovations that can help make U.S. and global agriculture more drought resilient, as well as sustainable. 
Read the post 12 Innovations to Combat Drought, Improve Food Security and Stabilize Food Prices in the Worldwatch Institute's blog, which was reprinted in the Global Food for Thought blog.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

A Bread FIlm at the United Nations Association Film Festival in October

Have you ever been to the United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF)? I'm not sure how many would answer yes to that question. But this year, there is a strong incentive to go. That is because the film “In Short Supply: Small Farmers and the Struggle to Deliver Healthy Food to Your Plate," produced by Bread for the World multimedia manager Laura Pohl, along with film consultant Brad Horn, is part of the lineup at the festival this year.  Click here to see list of films.  Read post  by Laura Pohl in Bread blog

The UNAFF will be held in the San Francisco Bay area (San Francisco, Palo Alto and East Palo Alto) on Oct. 18-28.  The festival was originally conceived in 1998 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

"UNAFF celebrates the power of films dealing with human rights, environmental themes, population, migration, women’s issues, refugees, homelessness, racism, health, universal education, war and peace," said the mission statement in the festival's Web site.

"In Short Supply: Small Farmers and the Struggle to Deliver Healthy Food to Your Plate" illustrates some of the uncertainties small farmers face, from unpredictable weather to changing immigration laws. Through the stories of Ricky Horton and Sherilyn Shepard, two siblings who grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables in southwestern Virginia, the video aims to show how the American food system poses obstacles to delivering healthy foods to American households.

Read More from Bread for the World

And if you can't go to the San Francisco Bay area in October, you can view the 13-minute video on YoutTube right here.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Swapping Skateboards and Collecting Clothes

The 300+ daily homeless guests at St. Martin’s Hospitality Center’s were the recipients of a HUGE donation of clothing & socks by everyone who came to the 3rd Annual Skate Swap and Charity Drive on July 29th at Rotary Park in Albuquerque.  "Kudos!" to Christopher Cade, organizer of this wonderful event, whose invitation to help people in need resulted in donations that literally jam packed my CRV!  Last week our clothing room was newly stocked with “primo quality” shirts, jeans, socks & underwear and many other donated items.  A warm “shout out!” to all participants for your generosity of spirit!  -Karen Navarro, Client Advocate at St. Martin’s Hospitality Center (843-9405, ext. 225)  See more photos from the event

[Below is a video showing what longboard racing is all about--The Skateboard Swap allowed skateboarders and racers to swap for the latest gear].

Sunday, August 05, 2012

A Great Article about ArtStreet in Albuquerque Journal

The Arts Section of this Sunday's edition of The Albuquerque Journal contained a great article about Art Street, a project sponsored by Health Care for the Homeless.  Here is an excerpt:
With a glue tube and a pair of scissors, Kimberly Gallegos is putting together a collage of images from magazines.

Next to her at a long table, Gallegos’ 13-year-old son, Ryan Davis, is applying color to a dark green-black abstract painting.

Gallegos and Ryan are among some 50 artists in this bright, airy room making an array of art – paintings, pottery, beadwork, sketches, masks and more. From time to time many take breaks to chat with others on their developing art projects.
This buzz of activity is at the twice-weekly Open Art Studio of ArtStreet, a program of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless at First and Mountain NW.
Gallegos has been making art at ArtStreet for seven years.
“I had been homeless for three years,” she said. “ArtStreet is open to anyone regardless of their ‘homing’ status.”
Read full article Creative Refuge in Albuquerque Journal  (subscription required to see full article)

Open House on Wednesday

Works from Art Street artists
Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless is celebrating Health Care for the Homeless Day with an open house on Wednesday, Aug. 8. It is at 1217 First NW (at Mountain).

These are the open house events:

1 p.m. Visit “Value Stations.” These stations are information tables that describe the values through which the organization’s mission statement is carried out. The values include housing and health care. There will be a table of art for sale made by ArtStreet artists. Mini tours of the facility’s programs will be offered.

2:45 p.m. Open Mike. Clients, staff, donors, neighbors, city officials are welcome to share their thoughts about Health Care for the Homeless, homelessness and related subjects.

3 p.m. Ice cream social.

For more information visit the Health Care for the Homeless Web site or email

More on Proposed SNAP Cuts (and the Impact on New Mexico)

Back in June, we posted a piece about how cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would affect low-income residents in New Mexico who rely on food stamps.  At that time, the Senate had approved a reduction of  $4.5 billion in SNAP over 10 years in its version of the farm bill, which means that 500,000 households would lose $90 in SNAP benefits.

Since then, the House has approved even more drastic reductions in SNAP: $16.5  billion over ten years. These cuts could lead to 2-3 million people losing SNAP benefits and 280,000 kids losing free school meals—in addition to the 500,000 households losing $90 a month in benefits. Read more about the most recent developments on the farm bill  from Bread for the World's Government Relations analyst Christine Meléndez Ashley.

The Center on Budget Policy Priorities posted information on specific changes proposed in the House bill:

The bill would terminate SNAP eligibility to several million people.  By eliminating categorical eligibility, which over 40 states have adopted, the bill would cut 2 to 3 million low-income people off food assistance.
  • Several hundred thousand low-income children would lose access to free school meals.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), 280,000 children in low-income families whose eligibility for free school meals is tied to their receipt of SNAP would lose free meals when their families lost SNAP benefits.
  • Some working families would lose access to SNAP because they own a modest car, which they often need to commute to their jobs.  Eliminating categorical eligibility would cause some low-income working households to lose benefits simply because of the value of a modest car they own.  These families would be forced to choose between owning a reliable car and receiving food assistance to help feed their families.  Read full report from the CBPP
Our blog post in June provided information on the possible impact of the cuts on New Mexico, based on USDA data and information from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.   Since then, we discovered a report from the Center for American Progress (CAP), which offers a state-by-state breakdown. The report , entitled The Economic Consequences of Cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, was published before either house passed its version of the farm bill.   Below is the data from the CAP, based on the numbers in the budget plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan.  This is based on Rep. Ryan's earlier proposal to reduce funding for SNAP by $127 billion over 10 years.  He has since proposed a reduction of $134 billion over 10 years Read more from the CBPP.   (Note: The latest statistics from CBPP says the most recent Ryan budget cuts potentially affect 436, 000 households in New Mexico in FY2013)

    The first set of numbers from CAP report is for the nation as a whole. The second set looks at New Mexico. 
  •  Each $1 billion reduction in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eliminates 13,718 jobs.
  • A 10 percent reduction in the size of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would cause more than 96,000 job losses.
  • These losses would be particularly strong in food-related industries, which would lose as many as 11,000 jobs under a 10 percent cut to the program.
  • Job losses will likely have the greatest impact on younger workers, since they account for a disproportionate share of workers in food-related industries— nearly one-third of grocery employees are under 25, compared to just 14 percent of workers in all industries.
A 10 percent cut in SNAP would mean $62 million less in SNAP payments, 801 fewer jobs, and as many as 38.5 million fewer meals for low-income families in New Mexico.
  • 356,822 New Mexico residents receive supplemental nutrition assistance
  • 20.4 percent live on income below the poverty level
  • 15.4 percent of New Mexico households suffer food insecurity
Here is an interactive Map from the CAP