The 10th Annual Neighbor to Neighbor Fund Drive raised enough money to supply the Santa Fe grocery store with more than £ 1 million in groceries – a record for the community event.
More than 140 neighborhoods, businesses, and organizations, most in the Santa Fe District, raised $ 201,429 for the northern New Mexico grocery bank that serves nine counties in the area.
That’s enough to buy 805,716 meals, Food Depot officials said.
Last year’s promotion raised over $ 170,000.
Food Depot employees had to double-check this year’s total three times, a number that left Assistant Director Jill Dixon in happy tears.
She said many New Mexicans are still suffering from the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are so many people who are hurt in our communities and whose lives have not recovered,” said Dixon. “Seeing such an incredible neighborly response at this moment continues to give hope to the people who have had a really long, long, tough 18 months.”
Neighbor to Neighbor founder Linda Flatt was also satisfied with the results of the now friendly competition for neighborhood groups and companies.
“I was overwhelmed,” she said. “Everyone just opened their hearts.”
Before the pandemic, the Neighbor to Neighbor campaign mainly focused on food donations. Since then, only cash has been collected.
When it comes to donating to The Food Depot, cash goes further than cans. According to the organization’s website, one dollar can fund four meals because the organization can buy groceries at wholesale prices.
Flatt is already thinking ahead of how the propulsion could work in the next year once the pandemic wears off. While dollars are more flexible, food donations are sometimes easier for low-income families who want to get involved, she said.
“It’s a puzzle. I actually had some communities that usually just donated food that said they really miss donating food, ”she said. “Write a check, that has a different meaning.”
The eastern Sierra del Norte neighborhood raised $ 30,655 and took first place in the overall competition, in which organizations and neighborhoods are grouped by size.
Meanwhile, workers at the Pak Mail shipping center on Montezuma Avenue raised $ 4,820, topping Santa Fe businesses.
2021 marked the first year the initiative expanded its efforts to nearby counties also served by The Food Depot, including Rio Arriba, Los Alamos and Colfax counties.
Carol Couch, secretary of La Tierra’s homeowners association, said the annual drive is a good fit for their northwest neighborhood as some residents are volunteers.
With 85 homes, La Tierra raised $ 11,895 for the ride, finishing second behind Sierra del Norte. Couch usually gets the news of the ride through email reminders to her neighbors.
She said she was impressed with the work the Neighbor to Neighbor Fund Drive organizers and Food Depot staff are doing.
“We have the easy part,” she said. “We’re writing a check.”