University of New Mexico Food works to offer something for everyone, but last month they took a step to make access to food even more accessible. In partnership with local tourism organization, Visit ABQ, UNM Food held its first-ever donation drive for the Lobo Food Pantry on Sunday, May 7 at Balloon Fiesta Park.
The event, which coincided with the Celtics Festival and USA Collegiate National Cycling Championships, offered free admission to those who contributed to the University of New Mexico's food pantry.
Amanda Martinez, basic needs specialist with the Lobo Food Pantry, personally counted the drive’s donations. In total, the drive resulted in an impressive haul of 3,051 non-perishable items and toiletries. The recent collaboration between UNM Food, Lobo Food Pantry and Visit ABQ, sparked by Crystal Lente, UNM Food's marketing coordinator, underscores the crucial role that community partnerships play in making a positive impact.
On the week of Monday, May 8, UNM Food and VisitABQ donations helped more than 150 students, with nearly 40 students coming the first day the donations were available. About 60% of them were graduate students.
UNM Food is committed to supporting the mission of the Lobo Food Pantry in its efforts to alleviate food insecurity. Events like donation drives provide the opportunity to encourage those less likely to donate to do so by means of conveniently-placed locations that are hard to miss. With such a high demand from the pantry, help is always appreciated.
Martinez guarantees that groups and individuals can donate in various ways. The easiest way is to bring donations directly to the pantry. Donations can be dropped off during the pantry open hours or Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Martinez herself is more than happy to meet people at the pantry outside of operating hours as long as it is scheduled ahead of time.
Donors can donate to the Lobo Food Pantry at the LoboRespect Advocacy Center office or through the UNM Food monetary donation link, Additionally, the pantry offers curbside drop-off if parking is too difficult.
Donations can also be brought directly to Martinez’s office either in the Dean of Students Office or the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center. Additionally, the pantry has a loading dock right outside of University Advisement and Enrichment Center (UAEC #85) to collect the donation curbside if parking is an issue. UNM groups in Albuquerque can also set up a time to have donations picked up.
If in-person donations are too difficult, the pantry can accept monetary donations as well. When groups or individuals donate through Amazon, the donations come directly to the office via the campus mailroom.
UNM Food also offers the opportunity for students to donate meal swipes and dining dollars at the end of each semester back to UNM Food for use in the Lobo Food Pantry. UNM Food can then use the donated funds or meal swipes to help students access a warm meal on campus. Students will need to reach out to Martinez directly for more information on this specific assistance.
Previous events have been in collaboration with the Isotopes, Young Alumni, Staff Council, Welcome Back Days, Homecoming, Lobo Reclaim during move-out, and various UNM departments and student group efforts and events.