ALBUQUERQUE — Last year, despite a pandemic that caused school closures, supply chain interruptions, limitations on bulk buying, inventory shortages, occupancy limits and great hardship, Calvary Church and local community members distributed 86,222 weekend snack packs — 122 tons of food — to food-insecure children in the Albuquerque area. Calvary Church alone contributed 49,623 of the total packs.
The weekend snack pack program is run by Feed New Mexico Kids, founded by Calvary Church member, Holly Slade. Each pack is filled with nonperishable, easy-open, single-serving food items like beef ravioli, mac and cheese, pudding cups, applesauce, cheese or peanut butter crackers, protein or cereal bars, ramen noodles, packed nuts, trail mix, raisins or fruit snacks and oatmeal packets, along with an encouraging note.
According to recent data from Feeding America, one in four children in New Mexico faces hunger, and the state has the highest rate of food insecurity in the nation, with nearly 17% of households “unable to provide adequate food for one or more household members due to lack of resources.”
“Recently, the director of HUD Housing told us the snack packs have had an enormous impact on their ability to interact with families, build trust and allow workers to evaluate family needs and guide them to additional resources,” said Holly Slade, executive director of Feed New Mexico Kids. “She referred to the snack packs as ‘mental health life lines’ for parents and HUD workers alike. She also told us of one little boy who cherishes his weekly notes so much that he saves each one and hangs them up in his room.”
Feed New Mexico Kids partners with Calvary Church, United Methodist Church of Rio Rancho, First Baptist Church of Bosque Farms, Faith Lutheran Church, Legacy Church, Inspire ABQ and several other local organizations to provide children in and around Albuquerque with snack packs, hygiene kits, protective face masks, Christmas presents and more. Currently, these organizations serve 42 schools in three counties, two Boys and Girls Clubs, two community centers, two day care centers, 236 families living in HUD housing and Title 1 McKinney Vento Students who are experiencing homelessness.
“The weekend snack pack program is a lifeline to many families in our community, and we are grateful for the opportunity to love our neighbors in this way,” said Nate Heitzig, chief pastoral officer at Calvary Church. “The generosity of our church and community members is truly humbling, and we greatly appreciate their support in caring for children in Albuquerque.”
More information about Feed New Mexico Kids is available here.
More information about Calvary Church is available here.