Alibi V.29 No.26 • June 25-July 1, 2020 

Feel Good News

An Occasionally Wild Boy

Steve-O pays homage to where it all began while supporting locals facing food insecurity

Steve-O was full of energy when it came to helping fundraise for Roadrunner.
Steve-O was full of energy when it came to helping fundraise for Roadrunner.
Clarke Condé
With COVID-19 wiping out so many aspects of our lives, it has been hard for many to find a new normal. A lot of life has gone on pause while we sort through the loss of work, being distanced and trying to land on our feet again. But, we’re a resilient group. We’re bouncing back and finding new ways to support our community, proving that, though we might be distant, we refuse to stop connecting with others. Enter Jon “Bones” Jones, local UFC fighter, who brought C.A.R.E. Project to the public's attention. The project, which stands for Community-Appropriate Relief Effort, is all about supporting New Mexicans through community work and projects. When Jones reached out to his old friend and former Albuquerque resident, Steve-O of “Jackass” fame, a spark lit up in Steve-O’s head. We caught up with him at Roadrunner Food Bank this past week. Steve-O took some time to learn about the facility, which assists New Mexicans experiencing food insecurity, and to set up a fundraiser for them.

Roadrunner Food Bank (5840 Office Blvd. NE) has been an incredible asset to New Mexico since 1979, working with local producers to help cut down on food waste and ensure local families get the food they need. Especially with so many people facing unemployment in the past months, their work has become more necessary than ever before. Every week 70,000 children, seniors, disabled individuals, families and adults benefit from the more than 34 million pounds of food they warehouse annually. On top of that, the charity runs a large number of programs that assist the community in a variety of ways, all tied back to their vision to permanently end hunger in New Mexico: programs like a mobile food pantry to reach people who struggle to get to the food bank, the SNAP outreach program that helps connect people with benefits, a job training program that helps people looking for work get more meaningful on-the-job experience through Roadrunner and even in on-site shopping center to help people with special dietary needs do fresh food shopping with advisors that are trained to help coordinate healthier eating habits.

Steve-O poses with Roadrunner Food Bank’s mascot.
Steve-O poses with Roadrunner Food Bank’s mascot.
Clarke Condé
“Yeah, when the lockdown started and I saw images of food banks with miles-long lines of people waiting for food, it was just really tough to take in, you know,” Steve-O told us in an interview while in town. “The whole time since the lockdown started, I've wanted to get behind helping people. I was already thinking about which food bank I want to pick. It seemed kind of arbitrary. When Jon Jones called up and said, ‘Hey, I'm doing this thing called the C.A.R.E Project to help out Albuquerque,’ I said hell yeah I'll be there next week!”, So with little fanfare, Steve-O arrived in town and started helping. First off was basic toiletries and supplies for those living on the streets, making sure they had what they needed to stay in good health. It was after this that Steve-O had another idea, harkening back to his earlier days living in Albuquerque.

“I was working at Hastings, and my job was to reshelve VHS tapes that people rented. One day, I was determined to go do a flip off this building [and into a pool], and I left during my lunch break. I came back still wet, I was just so excited about it. It was a big deal for me to do that stunt in 1996. When I pulled it off, it was a real landmark for me in my career as a stuntman. And to come back 24 years later—It wasn't even something that I planned when we drove into Albuquerque. My tour manager said, ‘I want to jump in the water. I want to swim somewhere.’ And I thought, man, let's check out that pool. So I typed in Alvarado Apartments on my phone. Got the address. We went there. I got goosebumps. It's so insane. It's a three story building , a five-foot deep pool and I'm six feet tall. Like the math says don't do that.” Steve-O eventually decided to not risk it, a sign of growth from the star who has changed dramatically in the last decade. Living a sober lifestyle, planning to open an animal sanctuary and fighting for animal rights, Steve-O looks healthier and happier than most anyone his age. But the call of adventure and excitement has never truly left him.

“The next day, we're going around giving out these care packages with Jon Jones. At the end of the day, when we gave away the last of our stuff, it was like, okay, we're done with the work that we set out to do today. And I told Jon, ‘I almost don't even want to say this. But that building I was telling you about last night is 0.3 miles away.’ And he goes, ‘Dude, let's do it.’ So we headed over there. At this point we've got like a crew of 30 people, and we've got a drone. Jon says ‘Let me fly the drone,’ so he’s filming this happening. Everybody's got video cameras and Jon's photographer says, ‘I'm gonna shoot a sequence.’ He got the most epic sequence. But I came out of that pool with the most, like, I don't want to say triumphant, but it was such a big deal. It was every bit as scary as it was 24 years ago. Arguably scarier. And when I came out of that water I was so satisfied, so happy,” Steve-O told us. With that watery stunt sequence, Steve-O had something unique to our city that he could work with to do something even bigger for Roadrunner.

“I got out of the pool and I said to the people on their balconies, ‘Hey guys, sorry I had to do that. I'm out of here now, and I just want to tell you thank you for my career because it started right here,’ and I feel that I paid my dues in Albuquerque. Albuquerque is where I came and got the footage that got me noticed that started my career.” Photographs were taken of Steve-O’s fateful pool jump recreation, which led to another fundraising idea. “All of my momentum began here. To bring my momentum back and be doing this thing and have these 8x10s to sign for everyone and have the money go straight to this food bank is a big deal. I’m super psyched on it.”

Those 8x10 photographs of the Alvarado pool jump 24 years later will be hand-signed by Steve-O and sold for $25 apiece through Roadrunner Food Bank in order to raise money in support of their program. Speaking with Mag Strittmatter, President and CEO of Roadrunner Food Bank, she told us that "Summer is already the most food insecure time of year for families in New Mexico. The coronavirus pandemic increases it even more. Recent research released by Feeding America shows that COVID-19 and higher unemployment rates estimate that 1 in 3 children is now at risk of hunger in our state. Previously it was 1 in 4. During unique times like these, Roadrunner Food Bank needs the help of the community to continue our hunger relief efforts. If you are healthy, please consider volunteering in our warehouse or at one of our distributions. If you are able to give, a gift of funds will allow us to help feed our hungry neighbors. Your efforts this summer will help us provide access to basic needs to families often experiencing hunger for the very first time." To purchase one of the signed photos, visit www.rrfb.org/steve-o or to get involved with Roadrunner Food Bank to volunteer or donate directly at www.rrfb.org.