Consider others and their experience wiath an open mind.
Keep love and kindness at the heart of your messages.
Make an effort to embrace mental health conversations.
Learn how to improve your overall health.
Wellness encompasses many aspects of physical and mental health. At the basis is reliable shelter and food. Sadly, for many New Mexicans food and shelter are not a given.
Even before the global pandemic, New Mexico experienced a 27% increase in homelessness – the highest in the nation (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). Lockdowns, rising unemployment, and school closures associated with the COVID-19 crisis only exacerbated the problems across the state and the country. Millions lost their jobs or were forced to give them up to stay home and care for their children.
In Northern New Mexico alone, the number of meals that the Food Depot provided nearly doubled after the onset of COVID-19, increasing from an average of 430,000 a month in 2019 to more than 800,000 in 2020.
Now, even as the pandemic eases and children are back in school, families still struggle to make ends meet in the face of rising housing and food prices.
November is Homelessness and Food Insecurity Awareness Month—a good time for us all to dispel myths about those experiencing homelessness or food insecurity and take stock of what we can do to ensure everyone has basic shelter and healthy food.
The statistics are sobering:
Donate — Financial contributions can be the most effective, as they allow food banks and other non-profits to direct the funding to areas where they are most needed. Non-perishable food items, of course, are also always accepted. The New Mexico Association of Food Banks can help you find food banks in your community.
Volunteer — Every hour donated by a volunteer means more dollars to spend providing meals to people in need.
Advocate — You can make a difference by sharing information about hunger in our communities. Hosting a food drive is also a great way to help educate friends, family and neighbors about hunger in our communities
Food banks and other non-profits working to end homeless work closely together to ensure vulnerable people get all the help they need. Contact your local food bank or local government entities to see what resources are available.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, offers a comprehensive list of hotlines, programs and other resources for those needing everything from food to emergency help with rent and assistance to job training programs at: https://www.hud.gov/states/new_mexico/homeless.