22 Tons of Spuds!

IMG_1521

While we’re still sad the Broncos lost the Super Bowl to the Seahawks a few months ago, we do know it’s a good thing for the hungry people in the Pacific Northwest. Making good on a lost Super Bowl bet between Colorado Potato Administrative Committee and Washington State Potato Commission, a truckload of fresh Colorado potatoes is headed to our sister food bank in Seattle.  And win or lose, our Colorado potato growers decided it would be a wonderful thing to also feed the hungry right here at home.  What a treat to receive 44,000 lbs of Colorado potatoes freshly harvested from the San Luis Valley!

Produce is an important part of a healthy diet and potatoes are packed with nutrition.  We know these spectacular spuds won’t be in our warehouse long and soon will be part of a hearty meal for someone in need.

Thanks to both the Washington and Colorado potato growers for caring about hungry people in the community and a BIG thank you to our Colorado Potato Administrative Committee for sending over some of your bounty to help us feed our neighbors in need.

IMG_1524

IMG_1535

Best One

Our friends at Arrow Electronics are no strangers to Fighting Hunger, Feeding Hope! They’ve been volunteering since 2011, sharing more than 1100 hours!  And they've contributed funds for nearly 222,000 meals!  It’s exciting to know this dedicated company now has corporate headquarters in Colorado. We have a group that volunteers on a regular basis and last week we had the pleasure of meeting another team from the company headquarters, who joined us to pack USDA boxes for seniors. Their smiles and muscle power will help us pack close to 9,000 boxes to distribute to hungry seniors this month.

The food bank needs about 500 volunteers every week in our warehouse to help us fill orders, sort food, pack boxes, prepare Totes of Hope™ and cook meals for Kids Cafe.  Financial gifts keep our refrigerators cold, our shelves full and our trucks on the road picking up food. We couldn’t distribute more than 46.5 million pounds of food to feed hope in our community without help from generous individuals and corporations like Arrow Electronics.  A big thank you goes out to the  Arrow Electronics team for sharing your time, talents and contributions with Food Bank of the Rockies.  You are appreciated more than you can imagine!

Do you have an organization who would like to volunteer?  Learn more here!

Spring Break Can Be Heartbreaking for Hungry Kids

The clock springs forward and the days get longer. Green shoots pop up in the flower beds and the birds chirp a little louder, signaling a change in season.  Today is the first day of spring and for most of us, it’s a happy shift to warmer weather.  For many kids, it means a week off from school and a vacation from studies.

IMG_6379

But for 1 in 4 Colorado kids, it can also mean a vacation from school meals and after school feeding programs, which is no vacation at all. Having nourishment is critical for developing and growing kids. A child going hungry in this land of plenty is simply unacceptable, yet every day, there are too many children who don’t have enough food, especially during the breaks from school.

One of our volunteers recently shared her story with us. She said her parent made “bad choices” when she was a child, forcing her and her siblings to live in shelters and always wonder if they’d have a meal.  She remembers dreading school breaks because that could mean going hungry.  She also remembers getting food through programs like Totes of Hope™ - Children, After School Snacks and Kids Cafe.  “I was too little to really know where the food came from but I was always so happy to be able to eat a good meal or bring something home to share with my family. Now I know it come from places like Food Bank of the Rockies and I want to give back because I know how important those programs were to helping me succeed in life.”

You can help make sure Colorado kids have enough to eat this spring break and all year long by making a gift to our children’s programs and Fighting Hunger Feeding Hope. Thank you for caring about our hungry kids and their families. Hunger knows no season.  We appreciate your support!

A Presidents’ Day Message from our President and CEO

cropped_headshot_webWe honor our Presidents this month because they’ve been charged with leading our country and regardless of your political persuasion; we can all agree this is no easy task.  As President and CEO of Food Bank of the Rockies, I have the task of leading our organization to mission accomplished.  Our mission states, “We will end hunger by efficiently procuring and distributing food and essentials to the hungry, through our programs and partner agencies.” And we know this also is no easy task.

When we look back over the years, Food Bank of the Rockies can proudly say we’ve grown to distribute more pounds and feed more people today than ever before, more than doubling what we distributed just six years ago. We know this is due to the generous contributions of funds, food and time from our community and the mission driven work of our team at the food bank.  For everyone’s efforts, we are truly grateful!

But we also know this is still not enough to accomplish our mission.  1 in 7 Coloradans are struggling to put food on the table. Nearly 1 in 4 kids live in homes where they don’t have enough to eat.  And during these cold winter months, almost half the clients receiving food through our programs and partner agencies are deciding whether to heat their homes or eat a meal. These heartbreaking statistics mean our work is not done.  And with more cuts coming to SNAP, we anticipate even more clients turning to food pantries in their time of need. We’ll continue to fight hunger we need you to stay in the battle with us.

How can you make a difference?  I like to bring up the visual of a three-legged stool. If any legs are missing or shorter than another, the stool can’t stand.  Our stool’s legs are funds, food and time.  We need all three to keep standing strong.  Funds come from individuals, corporations, foundations, grants and estates.  Every dollar we receive becomes 4 meals or 5 pounds of food.  Food comes from our retailers, farmers, ranchers, wholesalers and community. And time can come in the form of volunteering at the warehouse, making a call to your congressperson, participating in our events, “liking” our Facebook page, following us on Twitter and LinkedIn, signing up for our emails and even reading our blog posts.

With continued contributions of funds, food and time, we’ll keep on fighting and we thank you for being one of our soldiers! Every effort means kids like Jeff will have a warm dinner at a Kids Cafe.  Seniors like Marjorie won’t have to choose between taking medicine and having enough to eat.  And pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other programs will continue to feed those who walk humbly through their doors, asking for something to eat.

We’re glad you’re thinking about us and reading this message. We appreciate you!

Warm regards and Happy Presidents’ Day,

Kevin first name tight

 

First Graders Help the Food Bank Provide 828 Meals!

Peabody-01-2014

Peabody Elementary first grade classes greeted us with a warm welcome last week. Over the holidays, the three classes participated in the Kung Food Fighters Kids Club's Quarters for Kids  campaign. The students raised $207.05 which translates to 828 meals!

We visited the school to pick up the coins and had a chance to talk with the students.  When asked if they had to do anything special for their quarters, many said they cleaned their rooms, raked leaves, helped with the dishes, walked the dog and even helped out their neighbors!  These bright kids were quick to say what it feels like to be hungry and shared how tummies growl and it's just "terrible"! They learned that many people can be hungry and it's hard to tell if someone is struggling to find food just by looking at them.

We appreciate the wonderful team of teachers who decided to team up with Food Bank of the Rockies and were moved to see everyone’s enthusiasm about the project.  Thank you Peabody Elementary for your warm welcome and big hearts.  We appreciate your efforts to help us Fight Hunger and Feed Hope!

Want to learn more about the  Kung Food Fighters Kids Club? Visit our webpage or email kidsclub@foodbankrockies.org.

Never Too Small To Fight Hunger

hannah

Not long ago, one of our youngest donors stopped by to drop off a contribution and tour the food bank.  Hannah is only five, but as soon as you meet her, you immediately realize she has wisdom and compassion far beyond her years.  This caring kindergartener saved her allowance and brought in $12 to share with hungry kids.  We were happy to let her know her gift will provide 48 meals and every donation, no matter the size, makes a difference to someone who’s hungry.   We were happy to tour Hannah and her family. Meeting her brightened our afternoon and gave us renewed hope for the future.

Hannah, you are an awesome Kung Food Fighter and we are grateful for your kindness!

Do you know about our Kung Food Fighters Kids Club?  It’s free and easy to join.  Please visit our Kung Food Fighters Kids Club page to learn more.

Tom and Ed did it Again!

Arvada Lights

One of the most enjoyable private Christmas displays you’ll ever see is located near 58th and Ward Road in Arvada.  Stop by Tom and Ed’s place during the holidays and you’ll be treated to twinkly lights moving to music and bringing lots of joy to the crowd.

Tom and Ed do this purely for the love of it each year and didn’t want to accept money for their power bill. Instead, they started accepting donations on behalf of Food Bank of the Rockies.  Over the last few years, they’ve helped us provide tens of thousands of meals through their and their visitors’ generosity.  This year was no exception. We received a gift from Tom, Ed and their visitors that will provide 11,244 meals!

Thanks for not only lighting of the holiday season, Tom and Ed, but for also brightening the New Year for our hungry neighbors!

Meet Kayla, 8 and Michael, 7, Kung Food Fighters extraordinaire! This sister and brother duo attended our Kung Food Fighters Kids Club pizza party and learned about the Quarters for Kids campaign.  They wanted to help and after brainstorming with mom, they decided to spend the day at Sloan’s Lake, offering lemonade and goat petting for donations.

When they came to the food bank to bring in their donation and take a tour, Kayla and Michael filled us in on a little secret; the goats raised more money than the lemonade!  At the end of the day, their hard work provided 138 meals for hungry kids. What a fantastic effort by some very caring kids and their parents.  Thank you Kayla, Michael, Mom, Dad and of course the goats for helping us feed kids in need!

Do you know about our Kung Food Fighters Kids Club?  It’s free and easy to join.  Please visit our Kung Food Fighters Kids Club page to learn more.

Panera Bread Gives Back

uly 018Panera Bread is volunteering at our warehouse today. We asked them to share a little bit about how they make a difference. We are very grateful for their partnership and look forward to providing many meals to our community because of their and their customers' generosity!

At Panera Bread®, we believe in giving back to the communities in which we serve. We have worked to help combat the problem of hunger in Denver for 12 years when we opened our first bakery-café in Colorado. Since then, our efforts fighting hunger have grown to include various charitable initiatives, donations and numerous community events.

Panera is proud to partner with Food Bank of the Rockies, an outstanding partner who is providing meals to our neighbors in need.

We partner with FBR through our Operation Dough- Nation Community Breadbox™ program where customer’s spare change is collected and donated annually to FBR.  On January 20th, 2014, Panera associates have a unique opportunity to volunteer their time during the MLK National Day of Service to the Food Bank of the Rockies.   This unique volunteer opportunity gives our associates the ability to follow the donations in our ODN boxes and witness firsthand the change it makes in our community.  Every cent counts! As a partner with FBR we enjoy seeing how these donations add up to big change in our community.   Next time you are in a Panera, unload your pockets in our Operation Dough-Nation Community Breadbox! Don’t forget to mark your calendar for annual Panerathon 5K/10K in September!

The Best Request for Christmas

3All 10 year old Garrett wanted for Christmas was a pair of new headphones, a giant cookie and for people to donate food to Food Bank. So for 3 weeks, with the help of his mom, he collected food from neighbors, friends, his hockey team and anyone else willing to donate. When he came to make his donation, Garrett collected enough to fill an entire wire bin. Thanks to his efforts, the 448 pounds he and his friends contributed will provide 373 meals for hungry people in our community! Garrett , we appreciate your generous spirit. Thank you for helping us feed hope this holiday season!! Do you have a generous kid in your life?  Introduce them to our Kung Food Fighters Kids Club?  It’s free, easy to join and has lots of ideas on ways kids can give back.  Please visit our Kung Food Fighters Kids Club page to learn more.

2