By Isabel Ruehl, New Mexico In Depth
Nov. 7, 2022

Two years ago, in March 2020, Delfine Gabaldon visited a food pantry for the first time. He’d been laid off from work at the start of the coronavirus lockdown and didn’t know how he would make ends meet.

For 32 years, Delfine had worked as a mechanic. “I loved the job so much, I’d almost do it for free,” he said. But the 51-year old had recently lost several toes to type 2 diabetes, and nerve damage from the disease made walking difficult. These days, he could only stand for 15 minutes at a time before the pain became unbearable, and when he lay down, he got vertigo.

“I spin the wheel every morning I get up, depending on whether I’m gonna have nausea or my feet are going to affect me all day,” he said. But losing his toes had been a wake-up call. Delfine described decades of fast-food that he ate out of pure convenience: It was cheap, convenient, and moreover, a burger was what everyone at the shop grabbed for lunch.

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