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Fighting food insecurity in New Mexico: Online event will feature 50 artists in ‘Food for Love’ concert

Santa Fe resident Elle King will participate in the Food for Love virtual concert raising money for New Mexico food banks. (Courtesy of Corey Bost)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated record unemployment have exacerbated New Mexico’s hunger issue.

More and more families are caught between paying overdue bills or putting food on the table.

As one in three New Mexico children and one in five adults face food insecurity, New Mexico’s food banks are struggling to keep up with the overwhelming need.

This is why organizers brought more than 50 artists together for the “Food for Love” virtual concert on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Some of the lineup includes Jackson Browne, Lyle Lovett, David Byrne, The Chicks, Nathaniel Rateliff, Steve Earle and Elle King.

The event will benefit food banks in New Mexico.

“It has been an absolute privilege to work with the Food for Love organizing committee – such a passionate group of individuals, focused on meeting the basic needs of those who are struggling in our communities,” said Sherry Hooper, President of the New Mexico Association of Food Banks. “The New Mexico Association of Food Banks has been inspired by their commitment to put on a star-studded event intended to raise funds that will have such a tremendous impact on the lives of New Mexicans.”

According to organizers, other special guests include Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, former Gov. Bill Richardson, former Sen. Tom Udall, George RR Martin, Ali MacGraw and Hampton Sides.

The virtual concert will take place from 5-10 p.m. Feb. 13 and will be streamed through Food for Love’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

The concert is free, but viewers will be encouraged to donate to the New Mexico Association of Food Banks. Donations can be made live during the event or any time on the “Food for Love” website.

“Food for Love” will benefit all five of New Mexico’s food banks – Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, The Food Depot in Santa Fe, the Community Pantry in Gallup, the Echo Food Bank in Farmington and the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico in Clovis.

The Food Depot provided over 9.6 million meals in 2020. Ninety percent of the food was provided in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of artists from around the country who want to feed hungry New Mexicans,” said Hooper, who is also executive director of The Food Depot. “I think everyone could benefit from an evening of great entertainment during these stressful times. It’s a win-win, and we are grateful to Food for Love for the support. We greatly appreciate the planning committee’s efforts in bringing together such a thoughtful and amazing event.”

“Food for Love” is being organized by a group of New Mexico residents who decided to come together to address one of the state’s biggest needs.

They include: singer/songwriter Terry Allen; his wife, actor/writer Jo Harvey Allen; local entrepreneurs Susan and Bill Banowsky; and businessman Stephen Feinberg.

“We see the suffering too many New Mexicans are facing and wanted to help in any way we could. We believe music is food for the soul, so we thought we could also use it to feed those in need,” said Terry Allen. “I reached out to a few of my musician friends and the response was immediate. They didn’t hesitate to step up and help, and it just grew from there.”

For more information on “Food for Love” visit foodforlove.org.

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