Growing up in the beautiful Spain Valley, I have seen our communities flourish, and the people who are part of them continually support each other in good times and in difficult times. I have seen the urgent needs of northern New Mexicans evolve over time, especially given the unprecedented situation we have faced recently.
A pandemic has affected our communities and their inhabitants. We need each other more than ever. Our world has changed and suffered tremendously over the past 18 months or so. People have lost loved ones, lost their source of income, and lost more than they were willing to lose. In the face of these uncertain times, local organizations have been forced to stand up and step up their efforts. The Food Depot is one of many organizations that have stepped forward during this time of need, as they have continued to feed families in northern New Mexico since 1994. As a non-profit organization with a total of 145 partner agencies, The Food Depot strives to create hunger-free, communities in nine counties, and it’s needed more than ever.
I am proud to be a part of The Food Depot by serving as a member of the board of directors and supporting the organization’s initiatives to ensure food for those in need during these turbulent times. The Food Depot acted swiftly in response to understanding the many constraints facing families and individuals. Schools have been closed, access to food has been reduced, jobs have been lost, and financial insecurity has hit everyone. The Food Depot has found new and efficient ways to access food sources and created emergency drive-thru food distributions to meet the needs of our communities. Since the pandemic, The Food Depot has organized weekly drive-through food distributions, continued to serve all nine counties, created a safe working environment for staff and volunteers, and raised enough funds to meet increased needs.
I am also proud to be an employee of Del Norte Credit Union, a local non-profit financial institution whose mission is to improve lives and provide our members with sound financial advice. DNCU is a long-time supporter of The Food Depot. When the pandemic began, many businesses were forced to shut down and people at high risk were urged to stay in their homes. At that time, DNCU supported my request for increased volunteer hours at The Food Depot. It gave me the opportunity to support emergency drive-thru food distribution sites. For many years, the DNCU contributed financially to supporting monthly mobile pantries in four rural service areas and shifted its support to emergency drive-thru food distribution sites when needed. DNCU has a long history of giving back in support of the well-being of our communities, and this partnership is true to the credit unions’ philosophy of people helping people. I am doubly proud of my participation in the continued strengthening of the relationship between the two.
It is a pleasure to work for an organization like Del Norte Credit Union. He truly believes in improving the lives of those around us. I’m also proud to stand alongside my colleagues at The Food Depot, who go out of their way to support our employees when times are tough and especially when times are tough. Hope you can take the time to visit both organizations and the great work we do.
Kristi Leigh Salazar is from Espanola, a community outreach professional and non-profit volunteer.