9:42 AM on Monday, July 13th, 2015No Comments
I firmly believe that it is important to give back to the communities we live in and, personally, it has been life changing. One way to give back is by serving on a board of directors for both large and small nonprofits.
Serving on a board is an incredible opportunity to share one's expertise and it's very rewarding to help advance the mission of nonprofits. Board volunteer experience empowers one to stay connected to the community and be involved in the causes you care deeply about. Most importantly, you can make a real and lasting difference in the lives and well-being of others!
The first board I served on was the Valley Athletic Association in my hometown, which promoted youth participation in athletics. It was exciting to be part of an organization that increased the number of kids that were able to play on boys and/or girls' sports teams. Since then, I have been involved with seven other boards and I am currently the board chair for the Colorado Nonprofit Association and a board member of RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching).
It doesn't matter what cause inspires you to act. There are several steps you can take to find a nonprofit you are passionate about. Perhaps you or a family member or someone you care about has received assistance from a nonprofit and you want to give back. You can ask family, friends and coworkers about the causes they believe in and work with. Another avenue is to explore board positions online (organizations like Metro Volunteers often post board positions for nonprofits online). Last but by no means least, spend time researching the mission and accomplishments of selected organizations and follow them on social media.
Once you find an organization that interests you and might be a good fit for your talents, volunteer there and see for yourself. This provides you an excellent opportunity to speak with other volunteers, employees and clients of the nonprofit. Do they enjoy themselves? Do they make a difference? Are my particular skills needed? If your interest is piqued, request a one-on-one meeting with the nonprofit's executive director or board president. During this meeting, ask them about the nonprofits goals/outcomes, critical issues, financial stability and how you could best serve the organization. Find out the size of the board; only you know if you would be more comfortable in a smaller or larger board.
Understand Your Commitment
Before making a commitment to serve on a board, it is important to review the nonprofit's bylaws. Bylaws outline how a board functions, specify the roles and duties of board officers, identify board committees (if any) and responsibilities, determine board meeting times and many other important processes.
Next, it's important to understand your legal duties as a board member. Colorado law requires board members to follow various regulations and, generally, act in good faith. Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado (published by the Colorado Nonprofit Association) outlines various topics including board governance, advocacy and fund development. This is an outstanding tool for new and existing board members alike to use as a guide for moving an organization's vision forward, while ensuring compliance with state regulations and laws.
Finally, serving on a nonprofit board typically requires you to make some form of minimum time and financial commitment to the organization. Make sure you can commit the necessary time for board meetings, committee meetings and volunteer requirements. Feel good about your ability to make a meaningful financial contribution to the nonprofit and, perhaps, comfortable asking others to do so as well.
The bottom line is that nonprofits in our community need passionate and caring people to volunteer and serve on its board of directors! Explore your personal passions, understand your obligations and take an active role in building our community. It might just change your life and, more importantly, someone else's.
9:37 AM on Friday, April 10th, 2015No Comments
Earl 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!
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Earlier this year, Food Bank of the Rockies had the pleasure of meeting young Hannah. This thoughtful five-year-old, barely taller than one of our food barrels, saved her allowance and brought in $12 to share with hungry kids. We gave her a tour, took her photo and let her know the $12 dollars she gave would provide 48 meals for kids in need. And we thanked her, expressing our gratitude for her compassion and for her family, who encouraged her to share.
Each time I visit one of our programs or one of our partner agencies, it reminds me of how truly blessed I am. I can go to the grocery store and pick up the food I want, without thinking too much about the cost. The people waiting in line to put food on their tables don’t have that luxury. I’ve met many with health issues that drained their savings and ended their ability to make a living. I’ve met many more who work very hard, but still don’t make enough to cover the cost of necessities. I’ve met seniors, struggling on low fixed incomes. And I’ve heard stories of children, creatively finding ways to feed not only themselves, but also their siblings, even their parents, by bringing home other kid’s leftovers or stuffing ketchup packets in their pockets. We know Hannah’s gift makes a difference to them.
The food we’re able to distribute every day makes life a little more bearable for our hungry neighbors. We believe no one should go hungry and we are grateful for all our contributors. From Hannah’s $12 to the five and six-figure gifts from humanitarians and organizations that have the available means, every gift means an opportunity for these men, women and children to have something to eat.
This holiday season, we are thankful for everyone who contributed time, resources and funds towards our mission. We are grateful for parents who teach their children to share and to volunteer. We are humbled by those of you who give, even when you don’t have much abundance. We are blessed by those of you who have much to give and we’re glad you’ve chosen to help our mission. We are thankful for you all and will continue to use your gifts wisely. Together we can fight hunger!
Wishing you a joyful holiday season and many blessings in the New Year,
I’m enjoying the last days of summer outdoors in our beautiful state, knowing soon it will be fall and before we know it, winter. As you enjoy the last few weeks of summer, please remember Hunger Action Month this September. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you only think about hunger when you read our newsletters or see a report on TV. But for those who aren't so lucky, thinking about hunger could happen daily. 1 in 7 Coloradans are struggling with food insecurity and 1 in 4 children live in these households. They need our help. That’s why Food Bank of the Rockies is joining our fellow Feeding America food banks across the state and around the country to take action because we all believe no one should go hungry. Can you join us?
- Visit our Hunger Action Month section on our webpage and learn 30 ways you can fight hunger in 30 days.
- Run or walk in our Panerathon 5 & 10K.
- Sign up to receive our email newsletter and events notices.
- Like us on Facebook. Retweet, share and participate on Twitter , Linked In, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media sites.
- Tell your friends. Tell your neighbors. And if you learn they are part of the 1 in 7 struggling, please send them to us for a referral for food assistance.
- Volunteer - September is a slower month for volunteers, but we're still fighting hunger all month.
- Contribute - this month you'll receive our free downloadable cookbook, the 2014 Orange Cookbook as a Thank-You for financial gifts of all sizes.
- Teach a child about hunger through our Kung Food Fighters® Kids Club. Come up with your own way to take action. We’re counting on you.
Together, we can solve hunger. Your support and action are much appreciated this September and all year long. Warm regards, Kevin
A Message from Kevin Seggelke, President & CEO, Food Bank of the Rockies
Summer is truly one of the best times to live in Colorado. The weather is not too hot or humid, the sun shines almost every day and the city, plains and mountains are incredible places to enjoy the great outdoors and all our state has to offer. It’s also the time of year kids take a break from school. But sadly, for some children right here in our beautiful state, as the school year and school feeding programs end, summer also means the possibility of taking a break from having enough to eat.
12 year old Ryan is already feeling anxious. Soon, he and his 8 year old sister Sara will no longer be able eat school breakfast and lunch. He waits until the other kids leave the cafeteria and fills his pockets with apples, rolls, even packets of mayonnaise. The cafeteria worker notices and asks him if he’s hungry.
“I’m not hungry now,” he replied. “I’m trying to stock up so me and my sister will have food to eat during the summer.”
Ryan is one of the nearly 1 in 4 Colorado kids living in a food insecure household. Food insecurity is another way of saying these struggling families don’t always have enough money to eat - maybe only at the end of the month due to parents’ low wages, and in some cases, maybe all summer, due to circumstances far beyond a child’s control.
The cafeteria worker realized the seriousness of Ryan’s situation and told Ryan’s family about Food Bank of the Rockies’ Summer Food Service Program. This summer, Ryan and Sara will have a healthy lunch five days a week.
“Now I don’t have to worry about being hungry this summer and Sara will get lunches too. I can play ball and have a good time.” Ryan said with a big smile on his face.
At Food Bank of the Rockies, we’re proud to be the largest nonprofit sponsor of the Summer Food Service Program in Colorado. We’ll be providing food for more than 70 locations this summer. Along with several public school districts, the USDA , our sister Feeding Colorado food banks, partner agencies and the Colorado Department of Education Office of School Nutrition, children around our service area and across the state can enjoy a nutritious lunch during the summer months.
No child should go hungry. If you know a child in need, more information on summer meals and links to find nearby sites can be found here.
And if you are fortunate to have enough to eat this summer, can you help someone who is struggling? Your gift will help children and their families receive healthy food all summer long.
Thank you and enjoy a wonderful summer!