ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories employees have contributed more than $100,000 to the Roadrunner Food Bank during a 15-day campaign that will help New Mexicans with food during the coronavirus pandemic.
The amount raised, and the speed at which employees gave was a remarkable surprise during a trying time for many, said Amy Tapia, manager of Sandia’s Community Involvement Department that planned the campaign. The giving campaign ends today.
Employees were initially given 15 days to raise $15,000 that would be matched by the labs’ corporate contribution program, and it only took 90 minutes April 1 to reach that amount. By the end of the day, contributions reached nearly $19,000.
Inspired by the generosity of the workforce, the Community Involvement team upped the match to $25,000 that afternoon. The second goal was reached the next morning. For the next 14 days, donations continued to climb. By the end of the campaign, employees donated more than $75,000 that was combined with the match, leading to a donation over $100,000 to help families across the state through food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.
“I’m in awe of the people who work at the labs,” said Katrina Wagner, who works in Sandia’s Community Involvement Department.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the food bank is seeing an unprecedented demand from people who are newly in need of assistance at the same time as grocery store donations have decreased, said Tapia. This is a result of people purchasing excess food from local stores that would have made its way to the food bank.
Tradition of generosity, volunteering
Tapia said Sandia has a long-standing partnership with New Mexico’s Roadrunner Food Bank for volunteer opportunities and financial donations. Roadrunner has a network of 500 partners throughout New Mexico and is well positioned to respond to emergencies, she said.
For many years, Sandia employees have taken frozen turkeys to work on a specified date to donate before Thanksgiving. They have also volunteered to help sort food at Roadrunner for Stamp Out Hunger, the largest single-day food drive in the United States, and they’ve participated in virtual food drives during summer months.
Volunteer events often fill up lightning fast, said Wagner, who arranged for a group of 35 Sandia employees to sort food at Roadrunner on March 28. She said the spots filled up in minutes. Employees have continued to sign up to volunteer at the food bank every Friday in April.
Communications Senior Manager Linda Lovato-Montoya volunteered with the March 28 group and helped fill boxes with dry goods for Roadrunner clients in The Emergency Food Assistance Program.
“I felt part of the solution,” said Lovato-Montoya. “Being able to help others during these tough times connects me to a greater good for people. With each of us doing our part, whether big or small, we contribute to the bigger picture.”
Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.
Sandia news media contact: Manette Fisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-844-1742