The Rotary Club of Los Alamos invites the community to pack meals on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Crossroads Bible Church to help alleviate hunger in Northern New Mexico. Volunteers may sign up for shifts at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080D4AA8A928AAFB6-rotary2 Courtesy photo
BY LINDA HULL
Rotary Club of Los Alamos
Mark your calendars for Saturday, Sept. 17!
The community is cordially invited to join the Rotary Club of Los Alamos once again to pack thousands of meals to help alleviate hunger in Northern New Mexico. In celebration of Rotary International’s Service week, Sept. 11-17, the Rotary Club of Los Alamos has invited our local Kiwanis and Lions clubs to join us in an even broader community-wide effort.
The project will be graciously hosted at Crossroads Bible Church with dry food in bulk provided by Meals of Hope (MOH), a Florida-based food-packing organization that “inspires and empowers communities to come together to end hunger.”
With Meals of Hope, Crossroads Bible Church, and added assistance from members of the local Kiwanis and Lions clubs, the packaged food will be donated to The Food Depot in Santa Fe for distribution to LA Cares and other Northern New Mexico food pantries.
Rotary Club President Alison Pannell has chosen this as her Presidential Project because “food insecurity is a critical issue in New Mexico all the time. The needs now, especially with the lingering effects of the pandemic, are staggering. Rotary is a service organization, and we are proactively addressing this problem.”
Pannell’s concerns are well-founded. According to recent data from The Food Depot, one in six New Mexico residents routinely face hunger, one in four are children. The US Department of Agriculture reports that most of New Mexico qualifies as a food desert, defined as a large area without access to affordable, healthy nourishment.
In a study last year, New Mexico Voices for Children found that New Mexico ranks eighth highest in the U.S. in overall food insecurity and third highest in food insecurity for children. Of the more than 70,000 hungry New Mexicans who seek food assistance every week, between 30%-40% percent are children, 21% percent are seniors over the age of 60.
In 2020 and 2021, to help alleviate overwhelming needs, The Rotary Club of Los Alamos was awarded generous grants from Rotary District 5520 and Rotary International to sponsor projects providing up to 40,000 meals of beans and rice and chicken-vegetable soup to families in need in Northern New Mexico. This year, the goal is 35,000 meals of macaroni and cheese. Each bag will contain six servings and will be labeled with cooking instructions.
The funds enabling the Rotary Club of Los Alamos to pay for this project were generated through the community’s support of the Club’s summer fundraiser, Brews, Band, and BBQ hosted by Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op.
Can you help us? Here’s what the day looks like:
—Saturday, Sept. 17
—Crossroads Bible Church, 97 East Road in Los Alamos; park on the west side, enter the church there.
—Shifts are 8:30-11:00, 12:00-2:30. Each shift can accommodate 50 volunteers.
—All current COVID-19 mandates will be followed. Hairnets, gloves, and masks will be provided; hand sanitizer and bottles of water will be available. Temperatures will be taken with contactless thermometers before the public is allowed to enter.
—Volunteers can expect to stand for 2½ hours as they work.
—During all shifts, volunteers will work at tables in the church’s lower level, packing bags of ready-to-prepare meals of macaroni and cheese.
—Each bag contains enough for six servings and is labeled with instructions.
—The packaged foods will be given for distribution to The Food Depot in Santa Fe, which also provides food to LA Cares and other Northern New Mexico food pantries.
—The Rotary Club-MOH Committee members include President Alison Pannell, Secretary and MOH Coordinator Laura Gonzales, and Publicity Chair Linda Hull.
–MOH Coordinator Laura Gonzales has provided sign-up sheets at the link below. It is also available in the Los Alamos Daily Post advertising, the right margin.
For more information about the event, please call Laura Gonzales at 505-699-5880.
Those who are unable to attend, but would like to support the work of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos, are encouraged to make a tax-deductible donation to Los Alamos Rotary 1312, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation, at PO Box 986, Los Alamos, NM, 87544. Please write Meals of Hope in the memo line.
For information about the Rotary Club of Los Alamos, please contact Club President Alison Pannell, firstname.lastname@example.org. The mission of Rotary is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, good will, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional and community leaders.
For information about the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, please go to https://losalamos.kiwanisone.org/. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.
For information about the Lions Club of Los Alamos, please contact Club President Logan Craig, email@example.com. The mission of Lions Clubs is to empower Lion clubs, volunteers, and partners to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, and support those in need through humanitarian services and grants that impact lives globally, and encourage peace and international understanding.”