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Egg cartons are handed to someone sitting in the driver's seat of a vehicle

Eastern New Mexico Food Bank Aims to End Hunger by the Dozens…of Eggs

When asked, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” Dianna Sprague, director of the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico chuckled and replied, “This year, we’re betting on eggs!”

Often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin,” eggs are one of the world’s most sustainable protein sources, loaded with 13 essential nutrients that improve brain function and strengthen the immune system.

A smart investment in a nutritious staple

For the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, this low-cost, protein-packed superfood is a staple. Working with nearby egg producer Cal-Maine Foods, the food bank purchases a dozen eggs for a fixed cost of $1.85. Every month, they buy three pallets of eggs and they always run out, usually by the third week.

“It’s one of our most popular and most requested items here at the food bank,” Sprague says. “People intentionally time their visits to the food bank so they don’t miss the eggs.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico recently awarded more than $750,000 through its Blue Impact℠ grant program to 36 community organizations in New Mexico. The Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico was one of them, receiving $10,000 to supplement their egg budget and $1,000 to help cover transportation fees. With Blue Impact funding, the Clovis-area food bank will purchase and distribute nearly 65,000 eggs.

“Eggs are affordable and versatile, and they go really far when you’re trying to feed a lot of people as inexpensively as possible.”

Sprague says the eggs supplement the food bank’s inventory and are distributed through its onsite pantry and through partner feeding agencies, mobile food pantries and emergency family food boxes.

Addressing food insecurity in New Mexico

Hunger — one of the main drivers of poor health — is a reality with wide-ranging consequences that affects over 270,000 New Mexicans. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, working-age adults who go without enough food are at least 40% more likely to suffer from long-term health problems. When children go hungry, there are long-term, detrimental repercussions for their future physical and mental health and academic achievement.

In Eastern New Mexico, counties such as Curry, Roosevelt, Quay, DeBaca and Guadalupe average a 15.4% food insecurity rate, which means 1 in 6 individuals in Eastern New Mexico live in households without consistent access to adequate food.

“We still have a steady stream of pandemic-level numbers of households coming through our door,” Sprague says. “In August, our network distributed food assistance to more than 5,000 families.”

She adds that this year’s Blue Impact grant and the support BCBSNM has given the food bank over the last 10 years has helped meet critical needs in their community.

“We are so grateful to collaborate with BCBSNM to alleviate hunger in our part of the state. BCBSNM has supported our mobile food pantries, our Food for Kids Weekend Backpack program and now they are helping us to purchase eggs for individuals and families that rely on the food bank for sustenance,” Sprague says.

In addition to the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, Blue Impact funding was awarded to six other New Mexico nonprofits focused on reducing hunger and improving health outcomes in communities across the state, including:

  • New Mexico State University Fit Families in Las Cruces: Helping New Mexico children at risk of becoming obese and their families eat healthier, be active and feel more positive.
  • Casa de Peregrinos in Las Cruces: Providing a basket of healthy, nutritious food to low-income families to help fight food insecurity and address hunger in Doña Ana County.
  • The Food Depot in Santa Fe: Ending hunger in Northern New Mexico by acquiring and distributing food to people experiencing food insecurity.
  • The Community Pantry in Gallup: Providing food to children in need every weekend during the school year.
  • Rio Grande Community Development Project in Albuquerque: Providing equitable access to nutritious school lunches for low-income, majority Hispanic students at Robert F. Kennedy Charter school, while also creating economic opportunities for low-income New Mexican farmers and business owners.
  • St. Felix Pantry in Rio Rancho: Providing nutritious food, hygiene items and other resources to older adults in need.
  • Fraction Farms in Bernalillo: Supporting, growing and donating healthy, organic produce to charities that serve community members in need.

Learn more about all 36 New Mexico nonprofits that received Blue Impact funding in 2023-2024.

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