Bill and Billy

We met Bill Sr. and Billy at Crossroads Church Pantry a couple weeks back.  Bill Sr. recently injured his back for the 3rd time working at a lumber yard and was told by his doctor that he needs a change of vocation. His wife works full time to help support the family. They've been waiting for 30 days for his workers comp to kick in, but haven't started receiving checks yet. He and his wife looked at each other that morning and realized that it was time to reach out for help. So, after a pep talk from his wife, he walked through the doors of this pantry and asked for help for the first time. He said it was the most humbling and the most difficult thing he has ever had to do.

Never did he and his wife think that they’d find themselves asking for assistance. In fact, a number of months ago, they started a foundation to help people with clothing and food. Now they’re the ones needing help and have put their foundation goals on hold. Bill holds on to his faith and is confident that someday he’ll use this humbling experience as a story of growth and hope. He is so in awe and grateful at what he was able to take home for his family as a result of FBR. Both Bills walked away with smiles and we walked away humbled by a story that is so close to home.

Watch Bill Sr.'s story below....

Christy

Christy and her husband took over the family painting company after her husband's father passed away suddenly.  Once a lucrative business, the company fell on hard times with the troubled economy.  Christy, her husband, young daughter and mother-in-law are trying to keep up on bills, but are struggling to put food on the table.  They're currently waiting for food stamps and are trading services for painting as a creative way to make ends meet.  Simply going out for painting bids is difficult with the price of gas.  They're having a baby any day and worry about how they're going to manage all that life is throwing at them.  Christy relies on a local food pantry to ease worries about feeding her family and is grateful for the help.  This family resides in the 7th wealthiest county in the nation.  Imagine that. 

Christopher Apple Orchard (aka, Sonny Bono)

Christopher Apple Orchard, aka, Sonny Bono, found himself without a place to call home last year. He's legally blind, was forced out of his apartment and had nowhere to go. He had never been homeless and had no idea what resources were at his disposal. When he discovered that the county he had lived in didn't have any shelters, he drove his trusty car to Denver and hoped for the best. This man went from being stable and self reliant to losing everything. And yet Christopher Apple Orchard is a ray of sunshine and is so incredibly grateful for everything hes been given.

Why is our job so vital? We provide food to places that people like Christopher rely on to survive. Watch his story - he captured our hearts immediately.

Vikki

Vikki was visiting a food pantry for the first time when we sat down with her. She lost her job during the summer of 2009, discovered she had stage 3 cancer in November of that same year and has since taken on the responsibility of caring for her disabled father. During their year of hardships, her husband’s work hours began dwindling and insurance costs went up. Vikki hasn’t been able to get adequate medical coverage due to her “pre-existing” condition. Following five months of cancer treatment, her family was forced to file bankruptcy in July, 2010. They are days away from losing their home and remain two months behind on bills and mortgage payments. They cannot find a way to catch up. Her four year old son is her driving force and it’s because of him that they finally came to the conclusion they need help. The food pantry she visited will provide one less worry for Vikki and her family.

Dorothy

Dorothy retired from a local medical office years ago.  She had worked hard and decided it was time to move on to the next phase of her life.  Her son got sick shortly after and Dorothy became his care giver, which has pushed her financial situation to its limits.  She receives government assistance once per month, but this has not been enough to adequately provide for her family.  As a result, Dorothy relies on a local food pantry to get them through the month.  Without this pantry, she would be forced to come out of retirement and find employment. 

The food pantry Dorothy frequents has become her social network and support system.  She volunteers three days per week wherever needed and has become like family to the staff and volunteers.

Sharon

This photo comes to us via Denver Magazine's Faces of Hunger photography contest....

Sharon stops by a local food pantry for her weekly box of food. She is incredibly thankful for the help provided by this pantry.  It's so difficult to provide enough food for herself, due to the current economic situation.

Photographer: Holly Laing

The Heart of our Volunteers

National Volunteer week is winding down.  We celebrated our volunteers all week and want to whole heartedly thank all of you who donate time toward fighting hunger and feeding hope.  This place wouldn't and couldn't operate without you. 
While we're on the topic of volunteerism.....have you met Olive?  If you've volunteered at FBR, she was most likely the shining face welcoming you, answering your every question, retreiving bandaids, rubber gloves, offering a cold beverage and ensuring that all our volunteers were being taken care of during their time with us.  Olive has been with this organization since we opened our doors 32 years ago.  Take a minute to watch the video below for her story and you'll get a glimpse of the passion she has for volunteerism and all those who donate their time with Food Bank of the Rockies.  Volunteers are at the heart of our organization and at the heart of our volunteers is Olive.   

Rita

Rita's fiance passed away last June.  And she lost her job shortly after.  She and her four children have been trying to make ends meet ever since.  Rita lost her car and she couldn't keep up with utilities, rent, gas...you get the drill.  She's been on hold for receiving food stamps for months, so she comes to a local pantry for food and clothing for the kids.  And for a sense of family.  They try to make it without asking for help, but that's been pretty tough lately.  But she smiles and laughs.  And she makes it work for the sake of her family. 

Little Andrea

This photo comes to us via Denver Magazine's Faces of Hunger photography contest....

Little Andrea Espinoza waits in the food box line at the Community Ministry of Denver with her mother, Cecilia.  Where would little Andrea be without resources like this food pantry?  We don't even want to guess. 

Photographer: Holly Laing

The food bank received this letter yesterday:

"Dear Food Bank of the Rockies,

My name is Nathan.  I earned this money by playing guitar at Pearl Street Mall.  I received $37.48 by playing.  I'm also inclucing 13 more dollars from my charity allowance.

Sincerely,

Nathan"

Photo by RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post, 3/1/2011

Nathan sent us a clipping of this photo from the Denver Post. He's laughing because a passer-by asked for his autograph.

The FBR team also thinks you're quite a Super Star!

Thank you Nathan for caring about others.  You inspire us and we are very grateful for your wonderful gift.