Remodeling to Meet the Growing Need

plans_Page_1When we moved into our current location in 2006, we estimated we’d need to expand in about 15 years to keep meeting the demand.  We didn’t anticipate the Great Recession and the population growth our region is experiencing. Thanks to expanded relationships with generous local retail, wholesale and manufacturing partners, we’ve grown faster than expected to meet the increased need.  Nine years later, we are faced with serious storage issues as we receive more fresh and frozen food donations and as we source more food and find more food donors to continue working to meet the need. We’ve reached a critical point where we’re forced to find a solution to add more space or choose to cut back on products we share with our agency partners and the programs directly serving our community, an option we didn’t want to consider.  Options to expand our storage capacity included moving to a larger warehouse, seeking an additional warehouse, leasing additional space or maximizing our current space.

Warehouse space is at a premium in Metro Denver and while we could sell our current building easily, finding a new or additional warehouse at a price we could afford was not an option.  Since we anticipate continuing to grow, leasing, our current solution, is expensive on a long-term basis. After consulting with experts, we learned that by making a few changes to the interior of our current warehouse, we could increase our storage capacity considerably.  This was clearly the most cost effective option.

The new lay-out will remove walls, provide more room for additional racking space to increase our current pallet storage capacity by 47% and increase refrigerated space by 228%.   We’ll replace our 40-year old roof.   We’ll also make changes to the layout and flow of the building for easier and safer pedestrian flow for our volunteers, visitors, staff and agency shoppers.

We intend to continue serving our community with minimal interruptions to food distribution and estimate the project to be complete within about 16 weeks of starting, sometime in mid- late August.  We’re working to raise an additional $2.65 million to complete the remodel and have selected I2 construction as our general contractor.  Watch for more information and please pardon our dust as we begin remodeling work this month!

 

Paul Berteau

Each year, in loving memory of long-time volunteer Betty Van Hook, we select a volunteer who exemplifies outstanding commitment to our mission.  This year, we've selected Paul Berteau, who’s been helping out FBR since October, 1997.

Paul first learned about the food bank after reading an article in Parade magazine about how important the gift of time is, particularly to food banks. After volunteering with Denver’s Table Food Rescue and distribution, Paul filled in for an absent volunteer in reclamation and never left.  He loves working in reclamation and tells us, “In my regular job as an insurance broker, there are days when I don’t feel like I've accomplished anything further at the end of the day than at the beginning.  I never feel that way in reclamation and always know I've accomplished much when my shift ends.” Paul also says he enjoys helping first time volunteers, making sure they have a good experience so they’ll come back.

Paul drives down from the mountains an hour or more, 40 miles each way, to volunteer with us every Wednesday morning and two Saturdays a month.  “I have a hole in my heart if I don’t get to volunteer,” he says.  He also gives his time to help FBR with many special events and shares his knowledge on our Operations Committee.

When asked what advice he has for others thinking of volunteering he offers, “Volunteering with FBR is joining a committed family with passion for what they do.” And he warns us with a smile, “Try it more than once.  There are many opportunities and when you find the one that’s right for you, it’s addictive.”

Kevin SeggelkeEarl is 73, going blind and living on a fixed income. Next week, we’ll deliver a box of food that will nourish him and provide some peace of mind. That box is being filled today by Jeff and his friend Justin.  They needed volunteer community service credits to graduate from high school and came to Food Bank of the Rockies to earn those credits.

Across the warehouse a group of women from a nearby church carefully clean and sort food rescued from local grocery stores.  They’re working alongside Ron, a retired postal worker who loves to help regularly in reclamation, doing the heavy lifting because he enjoys the exercise.  Some of the food they sort today will feed Stacy and her three small children when they go to a local food pantry because Stacy’s hours were cut back at work and she doesn't have enough money to purchase food for her family this month.

And in the distribution area of the warehouse, several pairs of co-workers in matching “Make a Difference” t-shirts scurry with clipboards and carts, searching the rows to find needed items on partner agencies’ food orders.  The food will help our partner agencies provide food to people in need like Paul, who is recovering from a serious illness and is unable to afford both food and medicine.

Volunteers from all walks of life contributed nearly 132,000 hours of their time last year, helping us get food to the people who need it.  This month we celebrate our volunteers and can’t say enough about the difference they make.  Volunteers not only help us in our warehouse, they also assist clients at each mobile pantry, meeting our truck to help set up and hand out food.  They serve on our board, sharing their knowledge and expertise.  They help us with our events.  They work in our office.  Without them, we’d need to hire at least 63 full-time employees to get the same amount of work done.

One of the best parts of my job is getting to visit with our volunteers.  I look forward to walking through the warehouse and talking with them. They brighten my day and they brighten the day of so many hungry people they’ll never meet. They are truly amazing!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all our wonderful volunteers! You are priceless and we are so very grateful for your gifts of time that help us fight hunger and feed hope.  We appreciate you!

Kevin first name tight

 

A Whole Lotta Food!

IMG_2687Food Bank of the Rockies Get's Food From Whole Food's Feed 4 More!

We were excited to be recipients of Whole Food’s Feed 4 More, a donation program to encourage shoppers to contribute towards the feeding of a family of four. Across the nation, Whole Foods stores and their customers have set a nationwide goal to feed one million people across the United States.

Three Whole Foods Stores made deliveries to FBR.  We’ll get 25 pallets of food to help us fight hunger!

Thank you Whole Foods!

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whitecrown

Since 2008, White Crown Credit Union and their members have partnered with Food Bank of the Rockies, making a big difference for our hungry neighbors.  The credit union spirit is about “People Helping People” – a concept White Crown truly exemplifies.  Yesterday, they contributed funds to provide 14,600 meals, bringing their lifetime total to nearly 210,000 meals for our community!

They've found creative ways to raise the funds. They decorate their lobby with posters, sharing the progress of their campaigns.  They run promotions throughout the year, allowing members to skip a loan payment for a small fee; a portion of that fee is donated to FBR.  They also match member donations and during member appreciation week, donating funds for each loan application received.

They've set an even loftier goal next year to contribute 40,000 meals and already have plans in place and posters on display.

“We realize hunger affects too many people in our community and we want to do our part to help feed them, “ says Kerry Spradling, President and CEO of White Crown Credit Union. “We've partnered with Food Bank of the Rockies for the past seven years and are delighted to know our efforts, a little at a time, have added up to make such a big impact on our community.  We look forward to continuing our efforts with the food bank in 2015.”

White Crown team and members, we love your enthusiasm, your creativity and your dedication to helping us feed hope.  Thank you for being our partner. We appreciate you!

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Fighting Hunger is in the Bag!

IMG_2818We love our friends at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage!  

Not only are they saving the world one bag at a time, they’re also helping us feed hope and nourish our neighbors. Natural Grocers does not offer plastic or paper bags.  Shoppers can bring in their own bags or use recycled boxes provided by the store. Every time you bring in your own bags while shopping, Natural Grocers makes a contribution to Food Bank of the Rockies!  This year we’ll be able to distribute 56,000 meals to the community because of this generous program. And that’s in addition to funds raised for Check Out Hunger - a program to help us fund our Children’s Programs.

Thank you Natural Grocers for caring about the 1 in 7 people struggling to put food on the table and our environment too. And thank you to all the shoppers who bring in their bags. Every bag credit makes a difference to our hungry neighbors. Together we can solve hunger!

Food = Hope

Thank you to guest blogger Rhonda Richmond, EdD who shared her story about growing up in poverty. We were moved by what she shared and hope you will be too.

me as a little kid

My grandmother raised me in Denver, CO.  She was a maid; a foster mother and she raised most of my siblings and cousins.  It was not uncommon for there to be anywhere from 13 to 18 people (mostly children) in our home at one time.  We often received food baskets, used Commodities and got food from the food bank. I cannot express to you how thankful I am that groups like you are around to fill the gap.

I also get defensive about the need for people to have food. I remember one year, I was in college and a gentleman began telling the class how hunger in America was a choice.  He said that people, who are poor, choose to be poor and for that reason, we should stop giving them stuff to make them want a hand out. I remember how bitter those statements made me on the inside.  Then I realized that he had never experienced poverty or hunger in his entire life.  He never knew what it means not to have the basic things one needs to survive from day to day.  Of course he could call it a choice, he had never felt the whip of the violence that poverty is.

My grandmother (single with only a 4th grade education – a former cotton picker) had known poverty her entire life.  She raised us not to think of the things we needed to survive as a handout and she told us not to be too proud to ask for help.

By contributing to FBR, people are saving lives.

Rhonda Richmond, EdD
Education: Teaching and Learning
Higher and Postsecondary Education

graduation

 

We agree with Dr, Richmond.  Food is a basic need.  No one should go hungry.  Thank you for reading our blog, advocating for the hungry and for helping us feed hope!

Hunger Knows No Season

 

Hunger knows no season.

In 2010, Food Bank of the Rockies began distributing food in rural areas where more help was needed by launching a Mobile Pantry program.  In 2011, we brought the program to Metro Denver, serving areas where the need was especially high.  Last year, we distributed enough food for more than 3 million meals in high need areas throughout our service area.

Right before Christmas, we met some of these struggling neighbors who were kind enough to share their stories about why this program is so important to them; important enough to wait in chilly winter temperatures for a few hours to receive much needed food, including produce and perishable items.

Your contributions of funds and time help make programs like this possible!

 

Rachel’s Story

 

Rachel watches her two granddaughters while her daughter works the night shift at a nearby hospital.  Her partner works for $9 an hour and she receives $150 every two weeks while she looks for part-time work.  Rent is high and Rachel and her partner struggle to pay the bills. The help she receives from Project Access Resource Centers, a member agency of Food Bank of the Rockies, allows her to provide healthy food for her granddaughters when they come home from school.  This food has been a big help for Rachel and her family.

Hunger Knows No Season

The Scott family struggles to make ends meet.  Three teens and their hard working mom don't always know where their next meal will come from.  They are not alone.  1 in 7 men and women and nearly 1 in 4 Colorado children live in food insecure households.

The holiday season is wrapping up and for Food Bank of the Rockies and many other charities, the giving season is slowing down as well. 65% of all the funds raised come in just 60 days. We are so grateful for the generosity of those who help us during the holidays! We work hard to stretch your contributions to last the entire year, but it's important to remember people are hungry, not just in December, but all year long.

Watch the story on 9news featuring our CEO, Kevin.  

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If you'd like to help feed families like the Scotts all year, consider joining FEED365™ and make a gift to FBR each month. Learn how easy it is to get started by clicking here.