Jill Dixon, Executive Director, Food Depot with Peter Lovato, Director of Sales and Catering, Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino
Food Drive Expected To Provide 35,000 Meals To Area Hungry
Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino partners with The Food Depot to donate food, raise hunger awareness
(Santa Fe, NM) More than 14 tons of food will nourish the bodies and minds of hungry New Mexicans this fall. That’s the goal set by Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino during their annual Coins for Cans food drive benefiting The Food Depot, according to Christine Gabaldon, Director of Marketing. And that’s the equivalent of providing 35,000 meals for those in need.
Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino has a long history with The Food Depot in support of its mission to end hunger in Northern New Mexico.
“We recognize the need in our own community,” Gabaldon said. “And as a company, we’re in a unique position to do something about it. We ask that our own guests and gamers get involved by bringing in cans of food, and in doing so, they earn slot play here at Buffalo Thunder.”
The Coins for Cans food drive has been in full swing for some time, and several truckloads ‒ an estimated 20,000 pounds ‒ of food has already been picked up by The Food Depot.
But what does hunger look like in New Mexico? And why is the need so prevalent? Those are questions many people ask, and Jill Dixon, Development Director for The Food Depot provides insight.
“Hunger is often hidden, but it affects one in every five people in our state. One in four of those are children,” Dixon said. “It’s a growing concern.”
A typical scenario of hunger in New Mexico is a household of six, added Dixon. The father works a seasonal construction job and the mother can’t afford to work outside the home, since she’s caring for four kids. Then comes an economic downturn and the construction work they relied on dries up. Every month the budget gets tighter, and no work means no income. No income means no food. This can and does happen in communities all around us, she said.
In fact, Dixon said, 52 percent of those served by The Food Depot are working adults. Of the remaining 48 percent served, approximately 80 percent are caregivers to family members or loved ones who cannot care for themselves.
“That’s why we count on the support of Buffalo Thunder to help us make a difference,” Dixon adds. “They are one of the most engaged, present and proactive donors that we have had the privilege to partner with. They feel very rooted in the community and recognize how our community suffers. This is an organization that is utterly philanthropic and have a strong commitment to making life better.”
A simple food drive, Dixon said, has grown into an extensive partnership over the years, offering food, financial support and countless volunteers.
“We feel so fortunate, and we see every day how the community benefits because of their involvement,” Dixon said.
It’s no coincidence that the Coins for Cans food drive takes place every autumn, said Gabaldon.
“The fall season is typically one of abundance,” she said. “By raising awareness of hunger in our community at this time of year, we make a lasting impact in hearts and minds. We remind people that hunger is present every single day of the year.”
About Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino: Link: https://buffalothunderresort.com
Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino is located and operated by the Pueblo of Pojoaque just north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Opened in 2008, Buffalo Thunder joined the ranks of the casino elite of New Mexico, included its sister casino, Cities of Gold. Art from Native contributors statewide, and from many different Pueblos, are displayed proudly throughout the casino.
About The Food Depot: Link: https://www.thefooddepot.org/
The Food Depot is committed to ending hunger in Northern New Mexico. As the food bank for nine Northern New Mexico counties, The Food Depot provides food to 145 nonprofit agencies including emergency food pantries, hot meal programs, shelters, youth programs, senior centers, homes for the mentally disabled and shelters.