Jill Dixon, the Food Depot
Air Dates: April 16-18, 2022
This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Jill Dixon, Deputy Director of the Food Depot, Northern New Mexico's food bank. The Food Depot is one of five food banks in New Mexico and the only food bank serving the nine northern most counties in New Mexico.
Dixon describes the effects of the pandemic on their services. She states, “What the pandemic really did is far as food banks are concerned, is strip away that veil that we were hiding behind that hid that reality of our economic fragility. And hunger is just a symptom of poverty and if we learn nothing else, it is that you can’t cure hunger unless you are systemically addressing poverty.”
Dixon further explains, “Really the most important lesson we learned is that two weeks into the closures related to the pandemic, the number of people seeking food assistance across the state and across the country, increased 30 percent.”
By the end of 2021, the Food Depot had distributed more than 12.5 million pounds of food in a single year, an increase from 6.5 million pounds of food in the year prior to the pandemic. In 2021, the Food Depot alone served 35,000 people.
The Food Depot is working on an innovative approach to hunger with a focus on "choice." New projects include the launch in Española in July of the first “Casita de la Comida,” a free grocery store model. Then, in January 2023, they will be rolling out Foodmobile Dos, a semi-trailer that has pop-out sides, that will create a 900 square foot grocery store on wheels.