Mattress Firm New Mexico along with Mayor Richard J. Berry and representatives from Albuquerque Heading Home delivered 100 new mattresses, frames and box springs to the Albuquerque Heading Home warehouse at 1513 Broadway Blvd. NE earlier this month.

Mayor Richard Berry helps unload Mattress Firm NM mattresses at the Albuquerque Heading Home warehouse.

Mayor Richard Berry helps unload Mattress Firm NM mattresses at the Albuquerque Heading Home warehouse.

Mattress Firm owner Alberto Estrada and general operations manager Alan Cronick recently formed their own not-for-profit organization, The Gone Fishing Foundation, which provides outdoor recreation experiences to children and others with disabilities.

They began supporting Albuquerque Heading Home in 2012 and became the official “Sleep Sponsor” for the project earlier this year when they announced that they would supply a brand new bed to every person housed through the program in 2014, according to a news release.

“This is a great gift to our community and a very thoughtful gesture to support some of the most vulnerable folks in our city. Everyone deserves to have a place to lay their head at night and I’m confident this contribution will improve lives for families who are struggling,” said Mayor Berry in a statement.

“We appreciate the value of a good night’s sleep,” said Alan Cronick. “These folks may be long-overdue for that and we are just glad to be able to support Heading Home in this way”.

More than 400 people have been housed since Albuquerque Heading Home began in 2011.

Albertsons erases vandals efforts

An unwelcome visit by vandals who made off with thousands of dollars in materials spurred a happy outcome for a Rio Rancho nonprofit that educates children about raising animals and crops.

One Sunday night in late June, someone broke into Galloping Grace Youth Ranch on the city’s western outskirts by cutting a hole in the fence.

Galloping Grace board president Tamara Toles reported to police that the vandals stole a small sum of cash, an industrial first aid kit, released some horses and cut down three alder trees worth $450. When Ranch owner Max Wade returned from an out-of-town trip, he noticed 75 fence panels worth $100 each were missing, according to the police report.

Wade said they use the panels to create pens for their livestock and for seasonal activities such as a pumpkin patch or exhibitions at schools.

“It’s a huge hit for us,” Wade said.

Josh Staples, the manager of the Albertsons store at 3301 Southern Blvd., recently presented Wade with a check for $7,373 to help make up for the loss.

Albertsons has a partnership with Galloping Grace through which the two supermarkets in Rio Rancho and one near Cottonwood Mall and another near Rio Bravo and Isleta donate their outdated or bruised produce to the ranch, which uses them to feed pigs, goats and other farm animals.

Galloping Grace runs programs for kids teaching them about feeding and caring for animals.

After the break in, Albertsons began raising money for the ranch through its “Making Change” program through which customers can donate at the cash register. The stores raised $2,373 in July and Albertsons contributed another $5,000.

Blue Cross’ big school drive

The employees of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico worked hard during July and August to raise funds or donate supplies for their annual their Operation Back to School (OBTS) campaign.

This year, the employees were able to gather more than 23,000 supplies, including spiral notebooks, loose-leaf paper, crayons, erasers, colored pencils, glue, scissors, hand sanitizer, boxes of tissues, and pencils.

“New pencils, paper, scissors, and crayons are just a few of the things that most young students take for granted at the beginning of school,” said Consuelo Bolagh-Cowder, senior supervisor of community outreach for BCBSNM.  “But for some students, these small items make a difference in being prepared and confident in starting a new school year. We want all New Mexico students to be prepared for the new school year.”

Over 45 school districts and almost 50 individual schools have benefitted from OBTS over the years.  This year, BCBSNM employees provided school supplies to Chaparral Elementary, Desert View Elementary, and Anthony Elementary of the Gadsden School District.  From the Albuquerque School District, supplies will be given to Reginald Chavez Elementary, Pajarito Elementary, Kit Carson Elementary, and Mountain View Elementary. Also slated to receive supplies are Isleta Pueblo Elementary and St. Bonaventure Mission and School in Thoreau.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico  provided a grant of $150,000 over a three-year period to New Mexico Appleseed to help continue their work on hunger, homelessness, child abuse, and poverty in New Mexico. This is the second year of the three-year commitment that the company has partnered with New Mexico Appleseed.

New Mexico Appleseed is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on improving the lives of the poor and underserved through high-impact systemic change. New Mexico Appleseed works to design, test, and implement practical solutions to difficult issues. With this year’s funding, BCBSNM and New Mexico Appleseed are planning a summit on hunger and the health impacts of hunger on our state.

“Blue Cross is excited to work with New Mexico Appleseed again this year,” stated Janice Torrez, Vice President of External Affairs and Chief of Staff. “Last year, our Care Van® visited Summer Food Sites across the state with New Mexico Appleseed providing health and nutrition literature to children and their families.  This year’s summit will bring more attention to the health impact of hunger on our most vulnerable populations.”

Economic conditions in New Mexico have led to an increased number of adults and children who suffer from hunger and poverty. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2012, 15.9 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. About 19% of New Mexicans are food-insecure, including 29% of children–the highest rate of child food insecurity in the nation.


Original Article By: Journal Staff- Albuquerque Journal