UNM Law Graduates Organize Biannual Event to Help Homeless Children and Teens in Albuquerque

Photo: Food for Thought drive, Hyde Park in Albuquerque

Photo: “Food for Thought” drive, Hyde Park in Albuquerque

When UNM School of Law alumni Mia Touchet, Rachel Higgins, and Kelly Stout-Sanchez first heard about the APS Title I Homeless Project, a non-profit organization that serves several thousand homeless children and families, they wanted to do something to help. “This program is for children–preschool through 12th grade –who are homeless, lack stability and security in their lives–including where and when they will get their next meal,” says Stout-Sanchez.

Higgins and Touchet were driven to action because both have children in the APS system. “Some of these homeless children are the classmates of our children, and we care greatly about them as our children's friends and peers,” says Higgins.

Stout-Sanchez was drawn to the program because she represents children, primarily those who have suffered abuse and neglect, are foster children, and struggle with hunger and poverty.

They named their campaign Food for Thought. “We chose the name because studies show, and it’s common sense, that hungry children can't think, learn or function properly because of inadequate nutrition,” says Higgins. “The message goes both ways: it is just as important food for thought to remember the responsibility we have for the hungry children around us.”

Successful Food for Thought Drives

The three alumni started their food campaign several months ago with the goal of filling a U-HAUL truck with non-perishable items for the Homeless Project. The first drive successfully provided enough toiletries to last the project through the year. The second drive on November 23rd raised both food and money, with enough food to last two months. “It is gratifying to spend time with friends and their families, with kids in tow, who have in common a sense of shared responsibility for our community's homeless children and families,” says Higgins. The most popular items raised at the second drive were protein bars, trail mix, and easy to serve one serving items.

How You Can Help

The group plans to make the Food for Thought drive a biannual event and encourages individuals, families, and children to participate. If you were unable to make to their most recent event, donations can also be made directly to the APS Title I Homeless Project at 1720 University Blvd. SE.

“People used to say ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ says Stout-Sanchez. “We are trying to remind our peers of that responsibility and alleviate some of the obligations from the handful of people working for the APS Title 1 Homeless Project.”

December 3, 2013