ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — At a crucial time where many have had drastic life changes due to the pandemic food banks are seeing an increase in clients.
Marble Brewery, Santa Fe Spirits and St. Clair Wine have again banded together to help benefit Roadrunner Food Bank as part of Tap Into New Mexico Craft. The program launched in 2018 in partnership with National Distributing Company of New Mexico, New Mexico Restaurant Association, New Mexico Department of Agriculture, and New Mexico True.
Tap Into New Mexico Craft stands can be found at Whole Foods, Smith’s, Albertsons and Total Wine locations throughout September and possibly beyond.
A $50 donation will be made to Roadrunner Food Bank for every local retailer or restaurant that carries products from Marble Brewery, Santa Fe Spirits, and St. Clair Wine. Last year’s campaign raised $10,800, which equates to 54,000 meals.
“We’re just completely honored that this campaign is continuing at a critical time,” said Sonya Warwick, communications officer for Roadrunner Food Bank. “There is a recent report by our national organization Feeding America that really looks at the impact of unemployment and its potential to add to the number of people who are experiencing hunger. So much so that hunger rates are expected to go from 2018 figures of 24% for children across the state to more than 34% which is one in three that can potentially be at risk.”
Currently the state is expecting overall food insecurity to be over 20%, which is one in five New Mexicans experiencing hunger, according to Warwick. Another discouraging statistic from the report is the significant impact on rural communities.
“Tap Into New Mexico Craft will help us fill those gaps in times of high need and the monies and the funds that they raise and the awareness helps the community significantly and greatly makes a difference,” Warwick said. “Every dollar that we take, in terms of dollars raised, allows us to distribute up to five meals so it can have a very big impact in terms of tens of thousands of meals for campaigns like this one.”
Santa Fe Spirits owner Colin Keegan foresees more small business layoffs and therefore possibly more people in need of food assistance.
“I think all of us need to be thinking what can we do for the needy, which has grown a lot or will grow more,” he said. “Even if they don’t grow more, there’s still enough (people) to feed as it is. It’s unfortunate that the people who are most needy in times of national need, the most needy, seem to suffer more. So this is a good way to give back what we can.”
Sandra Pacheco who is the national sales director for Lescombes Family Vineyards, which produces St. Clair Wines and the Soleil Mimosa line, said Tap Into New Mexico Craft is also a way to give back to the community that has supported local wineries, breweries and distilleries.
“We are so lucky in terms of the consumer base,” Pacheco said. “Everybody in New Mexico is very loyal to New Mexico branding. They’ve been fabulous supporters for us and we just kind of felt like it was an opportunity for the three of our companies to give back to the community. In a sense, we’re trying to say thank you but we’re also helping those that are most vulnerable here in New Mexico in terms of just needing our help.”
In addition to the monetary donation, Tap Into New Mexico Craft participants have also volunteered their time at Roadrunner Food Bank. There is always a need for volunteers at Roadrunner Food Bank, according to Warwick. Volunteer information can be found at rrfb.org.
“It feels great and I think focusing more on gratitude and what we are grateful for, what we have is important and what we can do to help others,” said Geraldine Lucero, marketing and events coordinator at Marble Brewery. “I think it’s easy for any of us to get caught up in the COVID mindset where you’re feeling down, you’re feeling bummed out but there’s always something to be grateful for and someone who needs help more than you.”
The food bank distributes various food items,as well as shelf stable items and canned goods.The food assistance line can be reached at 505-349-5340. Distribution partners in any community can also be found at rrfb.org/find-food.