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Food Depot community panel includes President Balderas

On February 7, President Hector Balderas spoke about how Northern New Mexico College is “flipping the paradigm” for low-income students during a panel discussion following the premier screening of “Movement,” a new documentary on The Food Depot produced by DocuFilms.

“We know the risks that may cause them to drop out: economic insecurity, housing insecurity. Maybe those kids have never been described as brilliant or smart, or they come from a family that hasn’t had even one person in college. So we’re trying to create a model of education that immediately empowers them, so that we can flip the paradigm,” Balderas said. “We treat them now as VIPs. You need counseling? We’re here to serve you. You have a dream? We’re here to be your partners. We are trying to create value and show them that they come to us already with value.”

The Food Depot Deputy Director Jill Dixon praised Northern’s food pantry, La Despensa del Barrio, for creating a system where students can order online for pickup, “which is something we haven’t even figured out yet.” She’s hoping Northern can help the Depot learn how to do that.

Other panelists represented Santa Fe County Community Services Department Connect Network, the Interfaith Community Shelter (Pete’s Place), Reunity Resources and Communities in Schools. All were focused on increasing support for those in need by collaborating with other organizations, creating community, empowering people to become self-sufficient and lobbying the legislature for increased resources for vulnerable populations.

“My hope is that we begin to look at food deserts in a more formulaic way, where the legislature begins to say that our clients deserve a fair, equitable share, not because it’s the right thing to do but because the clients we serve are the owners of the assets that are available,” Balderas said.

Watch “Movement” at https://thefooddepot.org/movement/. Learn more about The Food Depot at https://thefooddepot.org/ and DocuFilms at https://www.docufilms.org/.

 

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