From childhood, we are taught certain phone numbers are powerful. If you’ve ever dialed 911 or a trusted friend during a crisis, you’ve seen the strength behind seven digits. This month, two short phone calls could also hold the power to change New Mexico’s future for the better.

Our state legislators will soon convene for the 2022 session, and it’s vital they learn from you which policies to support and battles to fight in the year ahead. To help create real change, your state senator and state representative must hear your voice. They were elected by your community; now it’s time to make sure they are working on your priorities. We urge you to call and share your support for reducing hunger with state policies and funding.

Before our children can focus in school, seniors can be their healthiest and families can truly invest in the future, they all must have food on the table. Look around you: One in 6 New Mexicans experiences food insecurity. Food insecurity — limited or uncertain access to adequate food for an active, healthy life — exists in every county in New Mexico and affects people from all walks of life.

More than 50 percent of households seeking food assistance include an employed person; the remainder of people often have poor health or a disability, are caretakers or are retired. Twenty-five percent include a member who has served in the United States military. People who are food insecure must make incredibly difficult choices. Sixty-three percent of senior households served by one of New Mexico’s food banks are forced to choose between food and medical care.

Hungry children are more likely to struggle academically and behaviorally at school; 1 in 3 children in our state is food insecure. New Mexico food banks and other hunger-relief organizations continue their efforts to feed the growing demand for food, but their work only meets the immediate need. Every one of us should want a future where fewer people rely on hunger-relief organizations.

It may seem impossible for us to create an effective solution to this widespread challenge. However, it is possible for every one of us to make two phone calls. If enough New Mexicans call their state senator and representative, the Legislature can be persuaded to take action.

Our goal is to motivate legislators to approve anti-hunger legislation and funding. When you call, be clear and firm: Your legislator must join others in taking action to end hunger during the 2022 legislative session.

To start, request they support appropriating $12 million in new funding for New Mexico’s five food banks, enabling them to provide increased hunger relief through more than 500 local organizations across the state. Sharing with legislators any personal knowledge about yourself or others dealing with hunger and food insecurity is also powerful.

If you do not know who your state representative and state senator are, now is a perfect time to find out. Go to nmlegis.gov and type in your address to find contact information. Your phone call will make a difference.

Your legislators are preparing for the session that begins Jan. 18. Call today and make sure they know that a healthy, hunger-free New Mexico not only is your priority, but you believe it must be theirs as well.

If you would like to receive periodic updates on the Legislature’s actions to address hunger, send an email to info@thefooddepot.org and ask to be added to The Food Depot’s Advocacy Committee’s email list.

Amanda Bregel is the volunteer coordinator and a member of the public policy committee at The Food Depot. Scott Bunton, retired U.S. deputy undersecretary of commerce, is a member of The Food Depot’s board of directors and chairs its public policy committee.

(1) comment

Jim Montevallo

Awesome. This is the grass roots, community-based forward-thinking problem solving that will address the gross leadership gap in Santa Fe and New Mexico. Let's DO IT.

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