Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District joined constituents from throughout northern New Mexico on Saturday, August 24 to discuss issues related to hunger and poverty. The video forum brought together key stakeholders who addressed both best practices and challenges regarding these important issues facing the state.
"Hunger and poverty impacts seniors, children, and families throughout New Mexico. The reasons behind each story can differ, but the impact is broad, affecting everything from school performance to health care outcomes," Congressman Luján said. "It is vital that we take steps to not only pull people out of hunger and poverty, but also prevent them from facing it altogether. No New Mexican should go to bed hungry, worried if they will eat the next day or where they will sleep the next night. This important discussion must continue and we must build on the efforts of so many in our communities to combat the root causes of poverty and hunger in New Mexico."
"With poverty levels reaching as high as 27% in areas within The Food Depot's nine county service area and growing demands for emergency food assistance, I'm excited to participate in the development of solutions to end poverty for thousands of New Mexicans," said Sherry Hooper, Executive Director of the Food Depot. "Low-income families face many challenges in their everyday lives such as accessing nutritious food or obtaining good medical care for their children. These challenges can overwhelm families and those providing services to people in poverty. Congressman Luján's Poverty Teleconference energized me. I'm grateful to Congressman Luján for, not only listening to our concerns and ideas, but for convening this critically-needed community conversation."
The forum began with stakeholders meeting in their local communities to talk about issues they were seeing and discussing points they would like to make to the larger group. From there, they were connected to the video forum where they presented their findings to the Congressman and other New Mexicans from across the Third Congressional District. The discussion focused on the need for greater collaboration among stakeholders to amplify efforts and the importance of educating communities about the programs that exist and how to access available resources.