When local homeless shelter Joy Junction recently found itself dangerously low on food, fellow good Samaritans at the Albuquerque Rescue Mission were there to answer the SOS.
Joy Junction founder and CEO Jeremy Reynalds said this time of year is always hard for organizations like his.
“We’re in that spot just before donations hopefully pick up for the traditional season of giving,” Reynalds said. “So we’ve gone through all of our excess for the year and now we’re looking at crunch time. We hope people will start giving very soon.”
Albuquerque Rescue Mission spokeswoman Teresa Fleming said her group is glad to share, but it’s important for the rest of the community to begin to step up as well.
“The reason we’re giving to Joy Junction is we actually have food in our pantry that we can share. We feel that’s what we need to do as good citizens,” Fleming said. “It’s a time when we all need to think about giving to the homeless shelters, especially with the weather turning.”
Reynalds said the Joy Junction food truck often provides meals to people waiting for the Rescue Mission to open, so the two groups have always cooperated like this.
But some of the largest food providers in the state are also experiencing some food shortages.
The RoadRunner Food Bank, which distributes millions of pounds of food to food banks in the state, is anticipating a drop in the amount of food it receives from the federal government.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Food Assistance Program provides RoadRunner with up to 20 percent of its food, and RoadRunner spokeswoman Sonya Warwick said at the current pace of delivery, RoadRunner will get less than half of what it got last year.
Warwick said food, utility and fuel costs have all risen since last year, meaning there’s less money to buy what they need.
“So, yes, we have food in our warehouse, but if we had more food, we could easily distribute it. The need is there,” Warwick said. “We’re still getting a lot of the same phone calls, people who are saying, ‘I’ve been laid off for a year, or 18 months, and I have to cut food out of my monthly budget or I have to limit my expenses at the store.’ ”
Lee Maynard, president of The Storehouse’s board of directors, said that organization is also struggling to meet demand. Federal cuts and a drop in donations are affecting The Storehouse.
“Right now we are probably at the lowest food supply that we’ve been at in two or three years,” Maynard said. “We’re still managing to pull it together and find food when we need it, so we’ve not turned anybody away, but the crowds keep getting bigger and the food supply does not keep pace. So it’s definitely a problem.”
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal