Santa Fe Food Depot’s Director of Development Kira Howard addresses local Kiwanis Club. Courtesy photo
BY BROOKE DAVIS
Kira Howard, Director of Development for the Food Depot, based in Santa Fe, gave a presentation to Los Alamos Kiwanis August 19 on the goals and accomplishments of the organization.
The Depot is 20 years old, is the second largest food bank in the state, and serves nine counties in northern New Mexico. Its efforts range from feeding the hungry to providing infant supplies to families that couldn’t otherwise afford them.
Howard cited a recent survey that revealed about one third of the children in Santa Fe experience food shortage and a newspaper story that said New Mexico is ranked 50th (among the 50 states) for child well-being. In addition, she feels the pandemic has disproportionately affected poor and minority groups and that the recent wildfires and floods in the state have created new areas of need.
The Food Depot is addressing these challenges with their dedicated staff and approximately 900 volunteers who try to meet the needs of the hungry while also preserving the privacy and dignity of individuals. They have a recycled delivery truck that serves the communities and neighborhoods in need and run a “Kids Kitchen” that, between August and December of 2021, packed 60,000 after-school meals.
When asked where and how their food was purchased, Howard said that they have a contract with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to serve community foods. She added that the Depot receives about $11 million per year for food from the government. And the Depot does “food rescue”, working with grocery stores to take over food that would otherwise be dumped because it isn’t attractive, isn’t selling, or has been on the shelf a little too long,
Howard said that the need for food has increased and they are expanding their activities in order to respond to the nutritional needs of the people they serve.