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Buffalo Thunder launches food drive

19 June 2018

(PRESS RELEASE) -- The community knows Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino is the preferred place to gather for gaming and good times, but they may not know that it's also the "go to" destination to feed hungry New Mexican friends and neighbors in need. This week, Buffalo Thunder opens its doors — and its philanthropic heart — to launch their annual food drive.

Twenty tons of food is the collection goal set by Buffalo Thunder during the 2018 Coins for Cans food drive benefiting The Food Depot, according to Christine Gabaldon, Director of Marketing. And that's the equivalent of providing 40,000 meals for those in need.

Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino has a long history with The Food Depot in support of its mission to hunger in Northern New Mexico.

"We recognize the need in our own community," Gabaldon said. "And as a company, we're in a unique position to do something about it. We ask that our own guests and gamers get involved by bringing in cans of food, and in doing so, they earn slot play here Buffalo Thunder."

What does hunger look like in New Mexico? And why is the need so prevalent? Those are questions many people ask, and Jill Dixon, Development Director for The Food Depot provides insight.

"Hunger is often hidden, but it affects one in every five people in our state. One in four of those are children," Dixon said. "It's a growing concern."

A typical scenario of hunger in New Mexico is a household of six, added Dixon. The father works a seasonal construction job and the mother can't afford to work outside the home, since she's caring for four kids. Then comes an economic downturn and the construction work they relied on dries up. Every month the budget gets tighter, and no work means no income. No income means no food. This can and does happen in communities all around us, she said.

In fact, Dixon said, 52% of those served by The Food Depot are working adults. Of the remaining 48% served, approximately 80% are caregivers to family members or loved ones who cannot care for themselves.

"That's why we count on the support of Buffalo Thunder to help us make a difference," Dixon adds. "They are one of the most engaged, present and proactive donors that we have had the privilege to partner with. They feel very rooted in the community, and recognize how our community suffers. This is an organization that is utterly philanthropic and have a strong commitment to making life better."

A simple food drive, Dixon said, has grown into an extensive partnership over the years, offering food, financial support and countless volunteers.

"We feel so fortunate, and we see every day how the community benefits because of their involvement," Dixon said.

The public is invited to help end hunger in the area by dropping off canned goods at Buffalo Thunder now through mid-November.

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