We recently met a real life ray of sunshine. Her name is Paula and she has a contagious happiness and glow about her. Traits so many people crave. For Paula, warmth and hope are second nature. She generously offered to share her story with us. Her real story. No fudging or sugar coating. Life and choices bring about hardship and she didn't dodge any of that.
Paula worked as a flight attendant and Realtor for years. Life was smooth sailing. Drugs entered the scene and threw a major wrench in Paula's life plans. She lost everything and spent years struggling to keep a safe roof over her head. She relied on food banks and often found herself with a box of oatmeal to her name. Life wasn't so smooth sailing. This is where so many people would shake their heads and judge Paula and others who have made choices similar to hers. Just wait. The story doesn't end there.
After three years in an intensive rehabilitation program, Paula crawled out of the trenches and found that positive life rhythm she was desperately searching for. She found a good place. After surviving a life threatening car accident, she went through physical therapy and started writing and expressing her faith through shockingly beautiful poetry. She self-published her books, documenting the story of her life. After years of relying on food pantries, Paula started showing up at a FBR agency partner to help. To give back. Volunteering brings her additional joy and makes her grateful for everything she has. Paula uses her struggles and her accomplishments to add hope to the lives of those around her.
Our darkest moments tend to bring about the sunshine that Paula carries with her. We're grateful that FBR was able to catch a glimpse and play a role in carrying Paula through her journey.
You can check out Paula's website for more of her story and poetry.
Our warehouse was bustling with volunteers last Friday morning and we had some special guests filling orders in our distribution area. The National At-Home Dad Network hosted their 18th annual convention right here in Denver over the weekend. Several members came from across the country and wanted to give back while they were here. We had a chance to visit with Richard Blake who organized the volunteer activity.
Here’s a big THANK YOU to these terrific volunteers for being caring parents and for making a difference for the hungry in our community! We appreciate you lending a hand in our warehouse during your visit to Denver.
Interested in volunteering with FBR? Please visit our volunteer page to learn more!
Picture this... you walk out of a routine doctor appointment with an unexpected diagnosis of prostate cancer. Shortly after undergoing treatment for the cancer your kidneys start shutting down and you're immediately put on dialysis three times per week. You're far too weak to work, let alone walk to the mailbox or drive. In the midst of all of these new found health problems, your food stamp allotment is cut 75%. Bills are still coming in, health care costs are mounting and rent is still due.
This short synopsis is the journey that Hillery has been navigating this past year. We met this remarkable man at one of our agency partner locations last week and were in awe of his positive spirit. He spoke with eloquence about his appreciation for food assistance and how blessed he is to live close enough to walk to retrieve food when he's able. Hillery's story is all too common for so many of our clients. The ups and downs of life bring about situations where a helping hand goes an incredibly long way. Hillery made it clear that without food assistance, he wouldn't be able to make it right now.
Every dollar donated to FBR provides four meals for our neighbors. Thank you for providing hope for Hillery and so many others walking a similar path.
This face of food bank is a variation from the norm. Meet Mike. He served on the FBR board of directors for six years and made a positive impact on our organization in so many ways. We value him as a donor of time, funds and resources! It was awesome catching up with him and his lovely wife, Linda, at the Panerathon last month. Check out what they've been up to and why the Panerathon is so important to them! Way to go Mike and Linda!
We sure do love innovative ideas that better the lives of our neighbors in need. We received this email from a new friend of the food bank and wanted to share. Be inspired. And buy a sandwich card while you're at it!
Dear Food Bank of the Rockies,
Thanks for being so enthusiastic about my company, Food for Thoughts Cards, and our "greeting cards that give back locally." My first donation is in the mail to you - with a sample card, as promised. Again, the back story is simple. I pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to give to a homeless person when I take the train from New Jersey to New York University each week, where I teach part-time. Now I've taken that effort up a notch through Food for Thoughts Cards.
We launched our line of giving-back cards in January. The cards are shaped with a bread outline, and with the purchase of each card we donate (the cash equivalent of) a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to a food pantry. Our history of giving back can be found on our website and our Facebook page. Our store locations are on the sites as well.
Here's the best part... We think locally. Stores may select the food pantry to receive Food for Thoughts Cards' donation for cards they purchase. One card = one sandwich donation. My donation to you (equivalent to 111 sandwiches) is for cards purchased by Swoozie's in Denver.
We have nine 5x5 card designs. The cards are packaged in a clear sleeve and the quality is excellent. They are printed in New Jersey on recycled paper. People love the cards - both the cards themselves and the concept. It's an amazing way to give back and feed the hungry in local communities. One last thing. Here's an article about my company that was published last week in the Morristown NJ Patch:
Panerathon. It's our favorite Sunday of the Food Bank year. Over 800 people woke up at the crack of dawn and gathered this year in an effort to fight hunger and feed their bodies with exercise and delicious food from our friends at Panera Bread. For the 7th year in a row, we were blessed with beautiful weather and, despite the terrible flooding, the Westminster path system was in great condition for our participants. Job well done City of Westminster! Runners and walkers (and their 4 legged friends) were able to register and visit the expo booths with ease before they lined up at the Start line. For the third year, a 5K and 10K were offered, as well as a Fun Run for our little ones. It was awesome to see a lot of our small runners participate in both the Fun Run and the 5K with their families.
Over 50,000 meals will be provided as a result of this year's Panerathon! This event truly is an awesome experience for serious runners, families, pets and those just looking to get in some fun weekend exercise. We're so grateful to our fantastic partners at Panera Bread and to all those who volunteered and participated in the 2013 Panerathon. Let's gather 1,000 friends in 2014! Can't wait to see you on the course again next year!