Metro Mentoring Youth Feeding the Hungry of Bernalillo County

What if no one, not one child or one adult, in Bernalillo County went hungry because of our food donations from our Community Garden.

Photo of Marcanne Beck
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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

According to the Map the Meal Gap study produced by Feeding America, NM ranks number 1 for childhood hunger. New Mexico has a childhood hunger rate of 29.2 percent, far exceeding the national average of 18.6, with Bernalillo County's 25.5 percent hunger rate among children ranked 11 statewide. We wanted to give our at-risk kids, not only the means to help feed others, but to also empower them to feed themselves through their own community garden, designed and taken care of by our program kids.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian)
  • Hispanic, Latinx, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian)
  • Native American or Alaska Native (for example: Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupial Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community)
  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)

Website

http://nmpal.com

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • New Mexico

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Albuquerque

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • New Mexico

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque and Bernalillo.

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

When numbers of hungry children grew from 137,720 in 20111 to 150,390 in 2014, these alarming statistics were a wake-up call for our organization that takes care of children and youth who are at-risk. We have kids who come to us that have not had breakfast or lunch, especially in the summer, when there are no school meal programs. We want our kids to receive good nutrition, but we also want them to feel empowered and needed.

Promote strategies that will reduce youth involvement in negative risk-taking behaviors; and develop positive characteristics, including self esteem, trust, communication, and assuming personal responsibility, as well as each child involving themselves in giving back to their community and developing pride in their own accomplishments.

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income communities

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Child and Family Services
  • Community Development and Empowerment

Year Founded

1995

Project Stage

  • Idea (poised to launch)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

As we turn the work of growing our community garden over to our Mentorship kids, we will help them develop positive characteristics, including self-esteem, trust, personal responsibility, pride in their own accomplishments and better communication skills. They will learn how to cultivate, not only their own garden, but their own lives, through giving back to their community and themselves as well as their own families. Their garden will feed them and others in so many different ways. It will nourish their bodies as well as their souls.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Projected future impact: Partnering with our Roadrunner Foodbank to supply vegetables from our garden to the hungry of Bernalillo County. Empowering our kids as they see the impact feeding the hungry can have on a community and their own households, where hunger and nutrition is a concern. Raising awareness of the hunger issue in our County and hunger-relief action being taken by our organization in partnership with our state's leading foodbank.

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $50k - $100k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Grants, fundraising and donations.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

We will have the only youth driven community garden in the state of NM. Our kids will not only be feeding the hungry, they will also be dealing with the issue of hunger in their own home, and be able to find solutions, first-hand, that will result in successful outcomes.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

Healing across multiple generations incorporating models in which children can help heal the needs of many, including their own families, through their own united efforts and successes.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Email

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Photo of Lacy
Team

Hello Marcanne, This a very exciting and intriguing idea. Growing food, especially to feed ones own family and community can certainly be very empowering for children. Please reach out if we might be able to provide support or connections to the farm to school community in New Mexico. I would also very much like to continue to follow your project and work. Best wishes, 
Lacy Stephens 
National Farm to School Network
lacy@farmtoschool.org