Albuquerque, NM – For the second year in a row, New Mexico ranks #1 for childhood hunger.  The 2014 release of Map the Meal Gap shows the childhood hunger rate in New Mexico is 29.2% because one in three children here is growing up hungry.


Melody Wattenbarger, president and CEO of Roadrunner Food Bank said, “This should be a wakeup call for everyone in our state. Until we make sure that our children aren’t going to school hungry, we won’t be able to solve any of the other problems we have. If you look at indicators like our children’s abysmal test scores, health, graduation rates and future wages, childhood hunger underpins them all. Agencies like ours can’t address this issue alone. It’s a statewide problem.  It needs a statewide response.”


Over the past four years, Roadrunner Food Bank’s national organization, Feeding America, has released the annual study to measure hunger and the gap of meals by state and county.


The chart shows the percentages and changes in hunger since the study was first released in 2011.


Year            # of Hungry Children               Percentage           Rank           Nationwide

2014            150,390                                    29.2%                             1st               18.6%

2013            156,930                                    30.6%                             1st                22.4%

2012            146,940                                    28.7%                             4th               21.6%

2011            137,720                                    27.3%                             tied 11th       23.2%


Map the Meal Gap shows the overall hunger rate for New Mexico at 18.6%, about three percent higher than the nationwide hunger rate. New Mexico is fourth in overall hunger among states, tied with Alabama and North Carolina.


Year            Number of Hungry People       Percentage            Rank            Nationwide

2014            387,100                                    18.6%                             tied 4th         15.9%

2013            417,780                                    20.1%                             2nd               16.4%

2012            381,690                                    18.5%                             tied 7th        16.1%

2011            336,430                                    17.1%                             tied 8th        16.6%


The top five New Mexico counties with the highest rates of hunger overall and for children are below.  Luna County ranked as the hungriest county in New Mexico for both children and the overall population:


Overall Population                                      Children

Luna – 22.9%                                                Luna   39.7%

McKinley – 22.2%                                          Taos – 32.6%

Cibola – 18.3%                                              Cibola – 32.4%

Sierra – 18%                                                 Guadalupe – 32.4%

Roosevelt and San Juan – 17.7%                     McKinley – 32.2%


Wattenbarger continued, “Roadrunner Food Bank will launch a new response to childhood hunger beginning in the fall called the Childhood Hunger Initiative, which will reach into 16 counties. The best way to feed a hungry child is to feed the entire family. We’re going to focus our expansion on reaching children and their families at schools, but our efforts alone will not reach all of the children who are going to bed hungry every night. We hope people will step forward and help us make this a success.”


The report also estimates the meal gap by state and county as well as the food budget shortfall for low-income households. Below is the meal gap and dollar value of the meals needed in New Mexico:


Year            Meal Gap               Food Budget Shortfall             Cost Per Meal

2014            67,795,200            $175,675,500                            $2.59

2013            68,109,613            $168,911,840                            $2.48

2012            65,700,160            $155,709,380                            $2.37

2011            56,208,095            $136,915,050                            $2.44


Map the Meal Gap 2014 is a detailed analysis of hunger done by Feeding America and is the only study available that provides county–level data of hunger in the United States. The 2014 analysis was developed by Dr. Craig Gundersen for Feeding America. Hunger rates are based on a state-level model that accounts for the population in need of food at the county and congressional district level. Additionally, Feeding America worked in collaboration with Nielsen to arrive at estimates for food-cost variation by county. Results were reviewed by the Feeding America Technical Advisory Group in order to ensure accuracy and promote transparency.


A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at


About Roadrunner® Food Bank

New Mexico is ranked as one of the hungriest and most poverty stricken states in the nation.  Roadrunner® Food Bank, a Feeding America member, is the largest non-profit dedicated to solving hunger in New Mexico and operates locations in Albuquerque and Las Cruces.  Last year, the Food Bank distributed more than 26 million pounds of food through its own programs, a statewide network of partner agencies, and regional food banks helping nearly 40,000 children, seniors and adults weekly.  Roadrunner Food Bank kept 22 million pounds of food out of landfills last year through its Food Rescue Program. For more information on solving hunger in New Mexico, visit, or follow us on social media at:, or


About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Advocate. Educate.  Together we can solve hunger. Visit

News Release – Study Shows Hunger Still Remains High in NM – April 2014 (1)

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