Marchers who participated in the 35 pound ruck march during the 25th annual Bataan Memorial Death March on March 23 were the sole contributors to nearly 21,000 pounds of food donated to the Roadrunner Food Bank Southern Branch.
“The marchers did great with this, lots of good hearts out there who want to give to others,” said WSMR Chief of Recreation Division Sue Staub.
Marchers who elected to add an extra 35 pounds to their grueling march usually add the weight with canned goods, and uncooked rice and beans. Most marchers donate their canned goods to the food bank on hand after they complete their march. This year the Roadrunner Food Bank Southern Branch collected 7,000 more pounds than in previous years. According to representatives, the donation will allow for 17,400 meals to be prepared throughout southern New Mexico.
“You graciously elected to contribute the food you hauled an exhausting 26 miles. Your honorable gift will allow so many New Mexicans experiencing hunger to have a meal in one of the hungriest states in our nation,” said president and CEO of Roadrunner Food Bank Melody Wattenbarger, in a news release.
On a yearly basis the organization collects and distributes about 26 million pounds of food through statewide partners. The donated food can feed up to 40,000 individuals a week. Over 90 percent of the food that was collected last year was obtained through the Food Rescue Program. The Food Rescue program collects food from farmers and grocery stores that would normally be thrown away.
According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap report, New Mexico is rated number one in childhood hunger and rates number two in overall hunger. The Roadrunner Food Bank has benefited from the march for the past three years.