Fund Drive Volunteers

Volunteers from Las Acequias Association gathered after collecting food during one of its summer food drives. Neighbor to Neighbor is encouraging communities to donate money this year, instead of food. The Food Depot can make the money go farther and provide more food for those in need. 

Neighbor to Neighbor Fund Drive director Linda Flatt told City Councilors during its Aug. 31 meeting her organization expanded its efforts into the Española Valley and hoped citizens would contribute. 

The Fund Drive is the largest annual effort to benefit the Food Depot, a Santa Fe non-profit supplying food to local pantries and the hungry. This year marks 10 years since Flatt began the project, which helps provide hundreds of thousands of meals to Northern New Mexicans every year. Flatt does not work for the Food Depot. Her fundraiser simply helps raise and funnel money (and food donations) to the Food Depot. 

“Now, we are reaching into Rio Arriba County,” she said. “There are so many rural areas, and so many people struggling with hunger and being food-secure. Our main goal is to end hunger, to reach out to as many people as we possibly can.”

Last year, Flatt raised $170,979, resulting in more than 712,000 meals. Because of COVID, Flatt focused on raising money, instead of taking food donations, to minimize the number of times the food was touched. She will follow this same strategy this year, to avoid spreading COVID. 

Now, people also have the option of making donations with their debit or credit cards, by making payments through Neighbor to Neighbor’s website. 

“My mom used to say, you don’t hang your wash out for others to see,” Flatt said. “Meaning, you don’t let others see what’s really happening. People are so full of pride, and they want to be self-sufficient. They don’t want help.” 

That’s why, as part of her program, Flatt wants to educate others about the importance of chipping in whenever possible, whether it’s ten bucks or a hundred.

“It’s all about getting people to take action, simply by sending a check and helping the Food Depot provide for those in need,” Flatt said.

To donate online, visit thefooddepot.org and click on “Neighbor to Neighbor Fund Drive.”

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