(ALBUQUERQUE) – New Mexico’s largest food bank is reflecting on a record-setting year, thanks to the amount of fresh, local food donated by farmers in the state.
Roadrunner Food Bank’s president and CEO Melody Wattenbarger, along with New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte, announced at a press conference Thursday that the bank received 2,358,641 pounds of fresh produce in from the following farms in New Mexico:
Barker Produce in Las Cruces (onions)
Border Foods in Deming (chile)
Chile River in Hatch (onions)
Del Valle Pecans in Las Cruces (pecans)
Gillis Farms in Arrey (onions)
The Hatch Chile Store in Las Cruces (chile)
J & D Produce in Deming (watermelons and onions)
Lack Farms in Rincon (onions)
Morrow Farms in Hatch (pinto beans and watermelons)
Navajo Agricultural Products Industry in Farmington (potatoes)
Organ Mountain Produce in Mesilla Park (pinto beans)
Pico Bravo in La Mesa (chile)
Seco Spice in Anthony (onions)
Young Guns Produce in Hatch (chile)
On top of all that fresh produce, Creamland Dairies donated 120,000 assorted dairy products to Roadrunner.
All of these fresh produce and dairy donations were received via Roadrunner’s Food Rescue Program. Food rescue – also called food recovery or food salvage – is the practice of retrieving edible food that might otherwise be discarded as waste from places such as grocery stores, markets, growers, food manufacturers and other locations in the food industry.
“More than a million pounds of fresh, local produce and dairy products can go a long way to feed hungry people in New Mexico,” Witte said. “And it’s out of the kindness of the agricultural community and the good work that Roadrunner does, that these donations came together and went on to help the less fortunate among us.”
Roadrunner says its Southern Branch Food Rescue manager, Rudy Carbajal – himself a lifelong resident of southern New Mexico – has been instrumental in bringing in many of the new growers.
Roadrunner’s Food Rescue Program has benefitted from other types of local produce donations in the past including tomatoes, cucumbers, honeydew melons, pumpkins, apples, oranges, potatoes, and more.
“Produce is an important source of healthy food for hungry New Mexicans,” Wattenbarger said. “Rescued food helps us provide at-risk people like children, seniors, and families access to healthy food options they may not otherwise be able to afford with their own very limited food budgets.”
People can help Roadrunner secure food to feed hungry New Mexicans by making a monetary contribution at www.rrfb.org or by texting any dollar amount to 505-933-7732. For every $1 given to the Food Bank, five meals are distributed to communities across the state.
Food and agricultural companies with excess food are invited to donate it by contacting the Food Bank at 505-247-2052. The IRS provides enhanced tax deductions to businesses to encourage donations of wholesome food to Roadrunner and other qualified nonprofit organizations serving those in need. Food industry donors are protected under federal and state law when food is given in good faith.