According to a new report, New Mexico is once again ranked as the worst state for childhood hunger.
Feeding America’s 2014 Map the Meal Gap study says one in three children in New Mexico are facing hunger. Those numbers mean that many children may be relying on food banks in the state for a meal.
Roadrunner Food bank serves around 90,000 children in New Mexico through various programs like the Food for Kids Backpack Program and A Mobile Food Pantry.
Jessica Morris with Roadrunner Food Bank in Las Cruces, says hunger can have an immediate and lasting impact on kids. That’s why plans for a new childhood hunger initiative are underway to help provide food for children and their families.
“For schools who qualify it gives them the opportunity to apply for a Farmers Market style pantry or a mobile food pantry to families, and also supplemental backpacks to children,” says Morris.
The backpacks help provide kids meals when access to a free lunch or meal program is not available.
The report also ranks each county in every state. In New Mexico, Luna County has the highest rate of childhood hunger at thirty-nine percent. Luna County also has the highest rate of overall hunger at twenty-two percent.
Roadrunner Food Bank is also helping to spread awareness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to people who may qualify to help reduce hunger in the state.
“We go out into the community and we inform people of Food Stamps, and we help them apply if they are interested,” says Morris.
The Childhood Hunger Initiative is set to kick-off this fall in sixteen counties.