The pandemic and its economic impact left many New Mexicans facing food insecurity for the first time. The increasing cost of groceries coupled with lost wages means 1 in 6 people in the state is at risk of hunger. At the Roadrunner Food Bank, clients can access food and nutritional services in a deeply respectful environment.
"They are consultative and not judgmental. They give people agency and are encouraging and empowering," said Bret Henderson, director of payment services at BOK Financial® and board member of the food bank.
As the largest food bank in the state, Roadrunner Food Bank distributes food items to people unable to cover all their nutritional needs, including the elderly, rural residents, people with disabilities, people on fixed incomes, families and children. In 2021, they distributed 34 million pounds of food through their food bank and network of over 500 partner organizations.
Alicia Martinez, treasury client services professional at Bank of Albuquerque, is a long-time volunteer at the food bank. Since 2013, she's helped package food for distribution across the state. The respect the food bank staff shows their clients is something that resonated with Martinez. "They set up the food bank like a grocery store so clients can shop and choose food for themselves," said Martinez. "They also offer healthy and nutritious meal ideas, cooking classes and teach people how to work with their dietary restrictions."
A partner model increases access
The annual Map the Meal Gap report shows New Mexico is worst in the country for childhood hunger and 6th for overall hunger in the U.S. By working with partner agencies, Albuquerque's Roadrunner Foodbank can serve the entire state. From food pantries and soup kitchens to schools and senior centers, partner agencies help expand access to healthy food to more New Mexicans.
Henderson believes the nonprofit's impact can't be overstated. They aren't just feeding people—they are helping to improve people's lives as a whole. "If you are a student and you're hungry, you can't learn. It's hard to look for a job or be a good parent if you're worried about where your next meal is coming from. Food insecurity impacts us all in one way or another."
Bank of Albuquerque partners with Roadrunner Food Bank on several annual volunteer projects. We also proudly provide financial support and board service.
Learn more about Bank of Albuquerque's community involvement in their Community Report.