While it is generally understood that collaborations strengthen non-profit organizations, we believe that helping one another also expands the value proposition for all parties. Credibility expands when we support each other to alleviate hunger, whether it is appreciation within oneself, the community or among all stakeholders, including donors and funders.
Partnerships and collaborations lead to greater accomplishments and feelings of satisfaction and gratitude when we recognize that there are opportunities for reaching toward a common goal, such as ours – to address the BASIC NEED of addressing hunger that shows no signs of lessening when its root cause of long-standing, poverty, is so prevalent. Feeding Santa Fe is extremely grateful to all those we connect with in so many ways.
Feeding Santa Fe is represented on The Santa Fe Food Policy Council, which published a food plan: Planning for Santa Fe’s Food Future in October 2014. The focus of the plan is on Learning About Food, Accessing Food and Growing Food and has received wide support from many stakeholders, especially for its emphasis on nutritious food. Feeding Santa Fe strives to uphold the tenets of including healthy and nutritious foods in the bags we distribute. We’re not against sweets on occasion, but we are committed to providing the basics for a balanced diet in the bags we give out. As far as we are aware, we are the only organization in Santa Fe that provides a dozen eggs each week – for the valuable protein it provides. Some of its members contribute fresh vegetables from their own gardens!
With its long-term commitment to reducing food insecurity, The Santa Fe Community Farm enthusiastically shares its bounty with Feeding Santa Fe. During the growing season, we receive glorious contributions of broccoli, beets, carrots and kale that promptly goes into the bags we dispense. It was founded by centenarian John Stephenson, who we also recognize for being one of the founders of Food for Santa Fe, the former name of Feeding Santa Fe.
Smith’s Food and Drug Centers – on Pacheco and on Cerrillos – have been a valued ally of Feeding Santa Fe for several years now, starting with their sale on 15-oz. jars of peanut butter that helped establish the ongoing Peanut Butter Caper, whereby individuals and groups purchase one of more jars that replace a can of vegetables with a nutritious item without cost for our modest budget. We purchase the hundreds and hundreds of dozens of eggs from Smith’s each week at a most favorable price. When another vendor is not able to fulfill our order for non-perishable goods, Smith’s steps up to make sure we have the products we need to fill the bags. Time and again, we find we can count on their community-minded store director and enthusiastic staff to help us carry out our mission.
Feeding Santa Fe participates in the Co-op Food Purchasing Program of The Food Depot, the local food bank that supplies, at bulk pricing, much of the non-perishable food items we need for the bags we distribute weekly. Additionally, The Food Depot donates bread and, when available, fresh fruits and vegetables that have been “rescued” from and donated by grocers and wholesalers who have an over-supply of produce or have items that are healthy and safe but not quite up to the cosmetic quality their regular customers require.
The New Mexico State University Santa Fe County Extension Service continues to collaborate with Feeding Santa Fe in a great number of ways. Their Senior Economist and their Nutrition Educators not only support our efforts to provide healthy food but also work with us to provide the recipes and tips for safe food handling we give to our recipients. In addition, these educators lead the way for the Tuesday afternoon bag filling, thereby encouraging other volunteers to join in this effort.
Feeding Santa Fe has partnered with Presbyterian Medical Services to support their Head Start Home Visiting Program to provide food bags for the young parents and child caregivers they serve who have children between three months and three years of age. These food bags support Presbyterian and the parents and children in meeting their goals of health, nurturing relationships, connection to community support, and school readiness. The Home Visiting program is built on the belief that “a parent is their child’s first and most important teacher”.
Just the Best Produce, a local wholesaler of high quality fresh produce, is the source of the once-a-month purchase of fruits or vegetables Feeding Santa Fe includes in our bags. One of the members of this family-owned business, Stacy Wilson, received her college degree in childhood education. When she learned we were partnering with the Head Start Home Visiting Program, she decided to “give back” and, each week, donates a fresh item for those bags. We love her spirit and especially like purchasing bunches of celery to pair with the jars of peanut butter when we have enough donated for one day’s distribution.
Feeding Santa Fe responded to a request from Communities in Schools of New Mexico to partner with them at Capital High School, Santa Fe. We provide food bags to participants in the Teen Parent Center, a program overseen by the Santa Fe Public Schools Department of Student Support Programs. This program, in conjunction with the Mother Tongue Project, helps teen moms earn their high school diplomas, ensuring a better chance at success in life for both mother and child.
New Mexico State Employee Charities Campaign allows participating New Mexico government employees to select from a listing of nearly 200 qualified, non-profit charity organizations and make either a one-time donation or arrange for a periodic payroll deduction throughout the year. The organizations on the listing are IRS-recognized tax-exempt organizations that provide essential services to New Mexicans in need and which have “a direct and substantial local presence” in New Mexico. Feeding Santa Fe is grateful for the generosity of these employees over the years.
We have entered into a partnership with Santa Fe County Senior Services to provide food bags for the at-risk seniors, as identified by Senior Services, who may be frail or are otherwise unable to attend programs at the county’s senior centers. Senior Services drivers take the food bags directly to their homes. In addition, for many years, Feeding Santa Fe has been providing food bags for the Meals on Wheels program, which are distributed through the Mary Esther Gonzales Senior Center.
Feeding Santa Fe has a long-standing relationship with RSVP Santa Fe, the Retired Senior Volunteer program, whereby retired seniors who want to give of their time and energy to their communities are recruited to help meet needs for their friends, neighbors, and fellow Santa Feans. RSVP Santa Fe has been instrumental in linking interested volunteers with the many responsibilities related to our program – whether purchasing the food at bulk prices, arranging for its delivery to our location, unpacking the food from pallets, filling grocery bags, or handing out the grocery bags to individuals on Thursday mornings between 6 and 9 am.
Overland Summers is a Massachusetts-based organization that offers teenagers an interesting summer experience, including service to the communities they visit. For many years, groups have been coming to Santa Fe during June and July and, in addition to experiencing a new place and having fun, they learn about the local needs and work hard. We enjoy their early morning energy and enthusiasm and tell us their tour of duty at Feeding Santa Fe is among their most valued experiences.
Reunity Resources which collects spoiled food items for their composting program that helps Feeding Santa Fe dispose of waste and helps the planet. Reunity Resources is a Northern New Mexico non-profit committed to building community partnerships and implementing zero waste programs. They are the sole non-profit recycler in the region and one of few in the nation. It is their goal to continue building long-term relationships with local government, schools, institutions, and private businesses in order to minimize our waste streams and maximize our re-use.