Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mesa County In Colorado and Grant County in New Mexico Face Similar Predicaments

Rosie: a Collbran resident
The documentary A Place at the Table offers examples of how food insecurity and a lack of access to nutritious food affects people (and especially children) who live in diverse areas of our country, from north Philadelphia to a rural community in the Mississippi Delta to Mesa County in Colorado.

Those of us who live here in New Mexico can most identify with Mesa County, since the situation there is similar to that of many counties in our western region. The setting is not much different than Grant County in Southwestern New Mexico, which has a medium- sized city (Silver City) as a county seat, opportunities for recreational and outdoor activities, vast open spaces and long distances between small communities located with its borders.

One of the segments of A Place at the Table shows the lengths by which Pastor Bob Wilson of Plateau Valley Assembly of God goes to bring food back to his small ranching community of Collbran, Co.,  Twice a week, Pastor Bob takes his trailer to the Food Bank of  the Rockies in Grand Junction (the area's medium-sized city) to haul loads of food back to Collbran,

Over the years, he found that he needed to bring back more and more food. "In 1999, our initial year, we distributed 27,000 pounds of food to our community; growing every year, we distributed 240,000 pounds in 2011," Pastor Bob said in a piece written for the companion book to the documentary..  "Did our community have a need?  The number speak for themselves. We saw a substantial increase due to the economic downturn around 2009."

Food providers in Grant County in New Mexico find themselves in a similar predicament. The scarcity of options to acquire healthy and nutritious food is well documented.  And the need is great. A recent study found that the rate of food insecurity in Grant County was 20% (and more than 28% in neighboring Luna County).

"Tough economic times and our rural location have a noticeable impact on available food supplies for Grant County. The food pantry currently orders the majority of its food supplies through Roadrunner Food Bank in Las Cruces," the Volunteer Center of Grant Conty said in a recent update to supporters and volunteers.

Because we are dedicated to providing high quality, healthy foods to our pantry recipients, the [food pantry] committee is looking for additional and alternative methods of acquiring foods locally. These may include: shopping sales at local grocery stores, buying in bulk from local food manufacturers (such as Mi Ranchito in Bayard), establishing relationships with local growers to purchase or glean produce, and working with local stores to recover food that might otherwise be thrown in the trash.

The challenge has led the food pantry committee to form three new sub-committees: a food recovery sub-committee, a food purchasing sub-committee, and a fundraising sub-committee.

"We are looking for passionate volunteers to form these sub-committees," said the center's program director Becca Anderson.  "These volunteers will work with The Volunteer Center and the food pantry committee to create new avenues for providing supplemental food to members of our community who are in need."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for share........