Jill Dixon, the Food Depot

Air Dates: April 8-10, 2023

April 7, 2023 -- This week REPORT FROM SANTA FE presents a new interview with Jill Dixon, Deputy Director of the Food Depot in Santa Fe, the only food bank for nine counties in Northern New Mexico, a total area of 26,000 square miles.

The many food distribution programs available to people in need are outlined in Dixon's interview. She also urges people to “donate, advocate, and volunteer” to provide help and food for hungry New Mexicans.

At present, the nation is experiencing a “hunger cliff,” a food crisis for the country and certainly for poor states, such as New Mexico.

There are two current events making the "hunger cliff" problem worse: The reduction in SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) boosted during the pandemic and now dramatically reduced. Secondly, exacerbating this benefits reduction is ongoing inflation and the impact on the costs of food and transportation.

The Food Depot has a clear and simple vision: healthy, hunger-free communities in northern New Mexico. They work toward that vision by engaging a network of partners to develop solutions to create a hunger-free New Mexico.

The remote little villages and frontier communities that are sprinkled all throughout Northern New Mexico are rich with culture, history, and family, but not always affluent and not always able to make ends meet. The Food Depot is charged with the service of those communities, making sure that there is enough food for everyone. Across those nine NM counties, the Food Depot has over 70 nonprofit partners in hunger relief, and distributes food at a total of 150 locations across that service area.

Sherry Hooper, the Food Depot's executive director, has pointed out, “We fed hundreds of thousands of people, but we are not solving the problem of hunger.” She references this Desmond Tutu quote where he says, “We need to stop just pulling people from the river, we need to go upstream and see why they are falling in.” This in-depth interview with Jill Dixon reveals that the Food Depot is definitely going upstream to seek solutions to these critical problems.