Food Bank of the Rockies celebrates National Volunteer Week every third week in April. It’s one of my favorite times at the food bank and a small way of saying “thank you” for these generous gifts of time. Volunteers make such a big difference, not only to FBR, but also to our partner agencies and neighbors in need. Even though we take this special week to recognize our volunteers, for me and our staff, every day we operate is a day to be grateful for their contributions.
Can we put a price on the value of volunteering? According to Independent Sector’s most recent valuation, in Colorado, it’s $22.43 an hour. Multiply that by the 143,617 hours volunteers contributed last year, and FBR volunteers are worth more than $3.22 million to our organization! Their hard work allows us to accomplish so much more than we could ever do on our own. To us, volunteers are priceless!
One of the best parts of my day is visiting with our “regulars”. Day after day, week after week, year after year, we can depend on them to lend a hand. They pull orders, sort food, fill boxes, pack totes, help our drivers with USDA, Mobile Pantry and Nutrition Network distributions, assist in the office and prepare meals in our Community Kitchen. They are truly part of the FBR family and are some of the most wonderful people I’ve had the privilege of knowing.
In addition to our regulars, we work with many kind-hearted individuals and groups who just want to help out for a short time. From students earning community service to corporate groups coming to give back while building camaraderie, we appreciate and welcome each and every one of them.
If you’ve never volunteered at FBR, we encourage you to give it a try. Visit our website or give us a call to learn how you might be able to help. For everyone who has dedicated time to help us fight hunger, thank you. We salute your efforts!
Wonderful friends of the food bank for many years, Mile High Disc Golf Club visited FBR to tour our warehouse and share contributions raised over the past disc golf season. This generous organization and its players have been giving to the food bank for a very long time, helping to fight hunger in a big way.
This year, we were surprised to see their contribution more than double what it’s been in years past. They stepped up their fundraising efforts, raising more than $18,000 and had one generous player kick in the remainder to write us a check for an even $20,000, enough to provide 80,000 more meals to our community!
Ray Woodruff, Mile High Disc Golf President said they wanted to give back after the holiday season, when school meals end with spring and summer breaks and many families struggle to find enough to eat. We are so grateful for the generosity of this terrific group and we know many families in our community will have a better spring and summer because of their kindness. Thank you Mile High Disc Golf Club members; you’re all winners with our team!
Colorado weather is full of surprises. Spring break in Colorado could mean fun in the sun or playing in the snow. It could also mean hunger. Imagine not having the energy to run and play because you didn’t have any food to eat today. Sadly, there are children right here in our community who don’t have to imagine. School breaks and weekends should be a time for kids to make happy childhood memories, but for 1 in 4 Colorado kids, it’s a time to worry when and where they’ll find their next meal.
Dawn volunteered with us along with her work group from Sage Hospitality. She shared her powerful story about growing up in a struggling family where she often received food from shelters and through the generosity of programs like Totes of Hope™ and our partner agencies. She was excited to be able to give back and wanted people to know their gifts really do matter. “As a kid, you do remember the kindness and you do remember having something to eat.”
Listen to her story and make a contribution if you can.
Success stories like Dawn’s are only made possible through the kindness of our community. Thank you!
Yesterday, we had the pleasure of representing Feeding Colorado to celebrate Colorado Agriculture Day, aka "Ag" Day. Colorado's diverse agriculture and food industry contributes greatly to our way of life and they are generous friends to food banks across the state. Our CEO, Kevin had the pleasure of speaking during the press conference, judging amazing culinary creations and celebrating the wonderful contributions made all year long to Feeding Colorado food banks and their partner agencies throughout the state.
“On behalf of Feeding Colorado, we are grateful for the generosity of the Colorado Agriculture Council and their continued support over the years,” said Kevin Seggelke, president and CEO of Food Bank of the Rockies, the largest of five Feeding America member food banks that make up Feeding Colorado. “Feeding Colorado is dedicated to nourishing communities throughout Colorado by distributing food through our direct service programs and partner agencies. Far too many Coloradans struggle to put food on their tables and today’s donation will make a big difference for them.”
Because of their generosity last year, $973,000 in cash and in-kind contributions went a long way to help our hungry neighbors! Thank you to everyone in the agricultural community for your continued support of our efforts to fight hunger and feed hope!
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.
2:12 PM on Monday, March 24th, 2014No Comments
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!
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.
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!
5:55 AM on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014No Comments
We 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,
10:45 AM on Saturday, February 1st, 2014No Comments
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!
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.