Friday, September 09, 2016

Some in some poor, remote, mountain communities rely on food pantries for sustenance

Rio Arriba County, New Mexico
(Family Search map)
In some poverty-stricken, remote, rural areas, food pantries serve as the only source of groceries for some residents. For example, in Northern New Mexico harsh summer rain and snowy winter conditions can make driving 30 miles to the nearest grocery store a dangerous task, Drew Martinez reports for the Rio Grande Sun. Some of these towns are often more than 8,000 feet above sea level and have winding roads that are difficult to traverse.

In Rio Arriba County, 12 percent of residents—4,870—suffer food insecurity, Martinez reports. The county has nine food pantries. five of which distribute food at least once a month. Five of the pantries are mobile, helping residents in areas where it is difficult to get to a grocery.

Martinez writes: "Hunger is a hidden crisis in the U.S. and New Mexico, said Sherry Hooper, executive director of the Santa Fe Food Depot, a group that’s responsible for distributing 400,000 meals a month to nine Northern New Mexico counties, including Rio Arriba." Hooper said they don't like to use the term "food insecurity," telling Martinez, “Here, we say people are hungry.”

Carly Benson and her husband are two of about 50 people who make weekly visits to one pantry, Martinez reports. She told him of choosing the food pantry over the grocery store, “Gas is expensive, it costs a lot to get out here. You have to make your trips worthwhile. We paid bills with this paycheck, no groceries. This is grocery shopping for us.” (Read more)

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