New Mexico Appleseed’s work has yielded dramatic and positive results for New Mexicans who suffer from hunger. Last year, 100,000+ children were impacted by Appleseed’s work. New Mexico Appleseed creates systemic change by creating laws and policies that have statewide, long-term impact.
Economic conditions have drastically increased the number of children suffering from hunger and poverty in New Mexico. According to a recent Gallup poll, 19.6% of New Mexico residents reported lacking money for food that they or their family needed. Meanwhile, 28% of New Mexico households with children experience food hardship. Food hardship can have devastating impacts on children, including diminished educational outcomes, negative health consequences, and lowered earning potential.
Appleseed works hard to convene stakeholders, from teachers up to the Governor, to solve difficult problems related to children accessing meals at school, after school, during the summer, and on holidays. The following is a breakdown of our efforts to address the situation of child hunger:
The Governor’s Task Force on Child Hunger
This Appleseed initiative was created through a partnership between Governor Martinez and New Mexico Appleseed with the goal of institutionalizing collaboration and streamlining processes for accessing USDA meals.
Breakfast After the Bell
2012 Impact: 58,000 children (approximately)
Projected 2013 Impact: 63,000 children
- Appleseed proposed and advocated for the passage of the nation’s first Breakfast After the Bell law, enabling children at high poverty elementary schools to access a nutritious breakfast during the first few minutes of the instructional day. More students are eating breakfast and they are better able to focus on their studies.
Elimination of Reduced Price Co-pays
Impact: 7,000 children (approximately)
Projected 2013 Impact: 10,000 children
- For children whose families earn one penny more than 135% of the poverty level, current law requires that they cobble together a co-pay to get their breakfast and lunch. By eliminating reduced price co-pays, schools can increase the number of children eating at minimal financial cost.
- After several years of advocacy, Albuquerque Public Schools eliminated their reduced price co-pays, meaning over 7,000 children will now eat for free. We plan to promote this model at other school districts.
Impact: 60,000 children (approximately)
Projected 2013/14 Impact: 58,500
- Appleseed identified and helped acquire a USDA Direct Certification Planning Grant and a USDA Implementation Grant to dramatically improve and bring into federal compliance the process by which children categorically eligible for free meals get access to those free meals. These grants brought nearly 1 million dollars into the state. Appleseed successfully advocated for the state to change from an annual Direct Certification match to a monthly one. Appleseed also ensured the inclusion of children whose families are on TANF and FDPIR. With these changes, children can access meals more quickly and efficiently.
Afterschool and Summer Meals
Impact: 4,500 children (approximately)
Projected 2013 impact: 8,000 children
- Appleseed has worked to increase the number of summer food sites and participants since 2009. Appleseed launched the first Summer Food Fellowship, a program designed to increase participation at summer food sites and provide leadership opportunities for disadvantaged high school and college fellows. Appleseed created a short film called “Summer Hunger” to recruit more summer food sites and sponsors.
- By creating partnerships and local/statewide coalitions, Appleseed has been able to increase the number of afterschool meal sites.
- One example is New Mexico Appleseed’s new partnership with the YMCA, the City of Albuquerque, and Bernalillo County to renovate a city kitchen to expand afterschool meal service to as many schools as may need it. This could potentially serve thousands of dinners per day to children at schools and community centers all over the city and county.
Training and Technical Assistance
- Appleseed regularly provides training and technical assistance to state agencies, student nutrition directors, school administrators, afterschool providers, local government agencies, and nonprofits on how to implement cost-effective child nutrition programs and create policies to prevent hunger.
- Create self-sustaining local and statewide partnerships to end hunger.
- Change state and school district policies to ensure more children access afterschool meals, summer food, and school breakfast and lunch.
- Expand the backpack program throughout the state.