It's a bright, sunshiny day as the food bank van rolls down the street to a small home in central Denver. Peggy, FBR's driver is coming to visit Wanda and bring monthly USDA commodities made possible through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) administered by FBR. She also brings other items including some fresh produce, bread and even a bag of pet food for Wanda's furry companions. Wanda's face lights up as Peggy walks up the steps.
Wanda worked for the city for many years, taking public transportation to and from her job and counting on her husband to do the additional driving. Living for many years on a fixed income and now widowed, she's home-bound and relies on help from Food Bank of the Rockies for her groceries.
"Sometimes I don't have the money to get food, so it's really important to me. I'm so happy to know we have the food bank. I'm so grateful for that," she tells us.
Wanda is one of more than 411,000 people in our service area who don't always know where their next meal is coming from. We're grateful for the support we receive from the USDA, food and fund donors and volunteers - making it possible to share nourishment and provide hope to struggling families.
Watch Wanda share her story.
People come into your life for a reason, a season and a lifetime. For those who worked or volunteered with Food Bank of the Rockies anytime in the past 32 years, chances are, their lives have been touched by Olive Crawford.
With both joy and sadness, on September 30, we wished Olive a bittersweet “Happy Trails” as she headed off for new adventures, retiring after 30 years as a paid team member and 32 years total if you count her volunteer time before she was officially hired.
Olive dedicated her time to many jobs with FBR, but the one we’ll remember her for most is her role as Volunteer Supervisor. FBR relies heavily on volunteers to help distribute tens of millions of pounds of food each year. More than 12,000 individuals contribute 130,000+ hours and Olive was responsible for making sure each and every one of them was on task, informed and had a memorable experience with us. She was amazing at her job and loved by both staff and volunteers.
Life hasn’t been easy for Olive. Struggling with poverty and hunger as a child and again as a young single mother, she understands why it’s important to give back. “I guess there were times I needed help,” she explains, holding back the tears. “And there were folks that helped me, and so I want to give back.”
Her past experiences may be the reason her compassion and understanding emanated throughout the food bank. You could always count on Olive to share a few words of kindness and a bit of motherly advice. FBR won’t be the same without her.
“I tried it at 70 and I wasn’t ready,” she says about retiring. “And now I can tell it’s time.” At 74, we know Olive deserves to take a break from full time work and enjoy new adventures.
Reflecting on her work with FBR, Olive says, " It's a wonderful gift." We all feel the same about the devotion and joy Olive brought to her work at the food bank.
Thank you Olive, for putting your heart and soul into to feeding hungry families for three decades. You are already missed beyond words and wished many “Happy Trails” ahead.
It’s hard to say how long spoons have been around. They’ve been discovered with ancient Egyptian artifacts, unearthed with treasures from the Neolithic civilizations and found with relics used during the Shang Dynasty.
Spoons represent different ideas and cultures - “A Spoonful of Sugar.” “Born with a silver spoon in his mouth.” Spoons are units of measure – teaspoons, tablespoons. Some people collect souvenir spoons. Spoons can even be used as musical instruments.
But mostly spoons represent access to the most basic nourishment - a warm cup of soup, a hearty bowl of oatmeal, a simple dish of rice and beans, all consumed with a spoon. And as we know, too many neighbors and families don’t always have food for their spoons.
This September is Hunger Action month, a time to reflect on hunger, take action and encourage others to make a difference too. Food Bank of the Rockies, along with our fellow Feeding America food banks, is promoting “Spoontember” during Hunger Action Month. We’re sporting orange, the color of Hunger Action Month and having fun with spoons by sharing selfies, balancing them on our nose. But what we’re really doing is bringing attention to hunger and reminding people they can make a difference, no matter how small.
Food banks across the country hear far too many stories of hard working people, seriously ill people, children in poverty, seniors on fixed incomes, all struggling to have enough to eat. Together we can help them have food for their spoons, food for their health and food for their souls. By giving back, whether it’s through volunteering, calling Congress, sharing social media or contributing funds, you can brighten the lives of these families.
So thank you for participating in Spoontember and Hunger Action Month. A simple, silly act can have a big impact. Through contributions of food, funds and time, families can be nourished. Together we can solve hunger.
Food Bank of the Rockies enjoys many volunteers passing through Colorado from other parts of the country, but it’s not often we get to meet them on their honeymoon. Tim and Carrie-Lynn are no strangers to food banking. They met while volunteering at Greater Chicago Food Depository, a fellow Feeding America food bank. Now they’re both employed by the organization and even held their wedding reception in the food bank’s community room.
They love the mountains and decided to visit Colorado for their honeymoon. On their way back to the airport, they had a few extra hours to spare and since Food Bank of the Rockies was right along the route, they spent their morning volunteering with us.
Carrie-Lynn is a big believer in giving back. She coordinates volunteers at the Chicago food bank and also volunteers through the White Sox Volunteer Corps. Carrie-Lynn shared that not only does she make a difference for the people and organizations she helps; she also gets so much joy back in return for herself.
Thank you Tim and Carrie-Lynn for sharing your time with us during your honeymoon and for emblemizing the spirit and dedication of volunteers everywhere who help make the world a much better place. We wish you many happy years together!
A message from Kevin Seggelke, President & CEO, Food Bank of the Rockies
As school starts up and summer ends, many families feel relief. Not just because their kids are busy studying, but also because free and reduced cost school lunches and maybe even breakfasts are available again. Nearly 1 in 4 kids in Colorado live in families struggling to pay for food. That’s too many. This fall, Congress will decide if these kids deserve to eat breakfast, lunch and even dinner through programs funded with the help of the USDA.
When Congress votes on Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) this fall, we need them to recognize the importance of these programs. Hungry kids can’t achieve what nourished kids can. Healthy, well-fed kids have a better chance to be happy, productive adults. We simply can’t afford to let kids go hungry.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides federal funds to after-school programs serving meals and healthy snacks to children during the school year. Food Bank of the Rockies serves our Kids Cafe dinners and snacks with the assistance of CACFP. Our summer lunches feed thousands of kids across our service area with help from the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Without the USDA assistance for these programs, many kids would go hungry. We are especially concerned about summer food access and issues faced by food banks and other organizations providing this food.
Congress needs to know:
- Nearly 22 million children nationally receive free and reduced school lunch but less than 1 in 5 of these children receive summer lunch, with rural areas hit especially hard. In Colorado, 91% of the 253,000 children receiving free or reduced lunches during the school year don’t receive a summer lunch.
- Currently, food banks and other nonprofits must operate afterschool and summer feeding sites through two different programs with two sets of administrative requirements. CACFP and SFSP serve the same kids the same meals, often at the same locations. Combining administrative processes, reducing unnecessary paperwork and aligning these programs would allow providers to focus on feeding hungry kids with consistent nutrition all year long.
- Rural families would benefit from a summer child EBT program and meal options allowing kids to eat meals at home rather than requiring logistically difficult congregate feeding.
- The program was passed 40 years ago to close the summer meal gap. Improvements are sorely needed to ensure children in hard-to-reach areas have access to nutritious and healthy meals.
It’s appropriate this bill comes to the floor in September as we recognize Hunger Action Month. Action couldn’t be more important. We need Congress to act on behalf of our children and we need our supporters to reach out now to their Senators and Representative. Can you be our advocate? Tell Congress no child in our great country deserves to go hungry. Working families need help. Ask them to fund and improve these child nutrition programs so critical for thriving children and a bright future.
Thank you for supporting our efforts and championing the fight to feed our children. We won’t rest until every hungry child in our service area is nourished. Together we can solve hunger.
Michael and Virgil have strong legs. They also have big hearts. This dynamic duo pedaled from the Denver Tech Center over the mountains to Vail and back on a 5-day adventure to feed kids. This is their second year supporting Bike for Backpacks, a cross country bike tour to raise awareness and provide food for hungry kids by supporting food bank backpack programs through the CE Shop Foundation. In our service area, their efforts will support Totes of Hope® - Children through Food Bank of the Rockies.
With nearly 1 in 4 kids in Colorado living in food insecure homes, these programs are an important way to ensure kids have nutritious food, especially when school meals are not available. Food Bank of the Rockies funds these programs entirely through donations and funds are greatly appreciated to help these hungry little ones.
The pair celebrated another successful year by wrapping up their ride with a fundraiser at Slattery’s in Greenwood Village. They were greeted by many friends and supporters, including sponsors Realtor® University, National Association of Realtors®, The CE Shop and V Bar. Tired, but smiling, they continued to champion their cause and spread the message that kids should not go hungry.
Thank you Michael and Virgil for your generous spirit and for making a difference in the lives of hungry kids. We appreciate your kindness!
6:12 PM on Tuesday, August 4th, 2015No Comments
Hockey Hall of Famer and Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Joe Sakic and his wife Debbie care deeply about hungry kids. This dynamic duo champions the fight to end childhood hunger by hosting the Joe Sakic Celebrity Golf Tournament and Bringing Hope to the Table Dinner. For the past 18 years, these two events fund a large portion of Food Bank of the Rockies’ children’s feeding programs, providing millions of meals and hope to little ones who don’t have enough to eat. What inspires Joe and Debbie to tackle this challenge? Stories like 12-year-old Ryan’s.
Ryan felt anxious as school let out last spring because he and his 8-year-old sister Sara could no longer eat school breakfast and lunch. He waited until the other kids left the cafeteria and filled his pockets with apples, rolls, even packets of mayonnaise. The cafeteria worker noticed and asked him if he was 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 over a weekend or even 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’ programs for kids. This summer, Ryan and Sara have enjoyed a healthy lunch five days a week through the food bank’s summer lunch program. And when school starts, they can eat dinner at through a Food Bank of the Rockies Kids Cafe, even take home Totes of Hope® food bags on Friday afternoons, so they’ll have something to eat over the weekend. Joe and Debbie Sakic, along with all the golfers, dinner attendees and sponsors, helped provide many of the meals that nourish Ryan and his sister.
Golfers will once again gather at Sanctuary Golf Course to play the challenging course and rub shoulders with sports celebrities for the 18th Annual Joe Sakic Celebrity Classic. This year’s tournament, presented by RE/MAX, LLC is sold out. Nestled amidst pine trees, rolling hills and rock outcroppings, Sanctuary is arguably one of the most beautiful courses in the country. Dave and Gail Liniger, co-founders of RE/MAX, LLC, created Sanctuary on a wildlife refuge for the exclusive use of selected charities and invited guests. Golf Digest and Golfweek rate Sanctuary among the top golf courses in the United States. More importantly, in Sanctuary’s 18-year history, charity golf tournaments have raise millions of dollars for important causes like Food Bank of the Rockies.
Friday evening, August 21, the Sakics will host The Joe and Debbie Sakic Bringing Hope to the Table Dinner, presented by CoBank and RBC Wealth Management. This entertaining evening of dining, comedy and high-end auction items will take place at the Hyatt Denver Tech Center. The event kicks off with a cocktail reception at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner and the comedy stylings of Juston McKinney. Marc Moser of the Altitude Radio Network will emcee the evening’s festivities. All proceeds from both events benefit Food Bank of the Rockies’ children’s programs.
Food Bank of the Rockies has been feeding the hungry in Metro Denver and Northern Colorado since 1978. Working with more than 600 hunger relief partners and providing meals through direct service programs, the food bank distributed nearly 44 million meals last year to men, women and children struggling to find their next meal. Sadly, children make up nearly half the clients served through the food bank and its partners. Because the Sakics continue to work toward ending childhood hunger in Colorado, Food Bank of the Rockies is able to provide hot meals, snacks and weekend totes to make sure these children don’t go hungry. You can help. Join Joe and Debbie this August to fight hunger, feed hope and have a great time in the process.
To learn more and to register, go to the events page at www.foodbankrockies.org, or call 303.375.5838.
Food Bank of the Rockies was excited to join Midas as the local beneficiary for Midas’ hunger-fighting road trip. For every #1Mile1Meal shared through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the truck drove another mile and Midas donated a meal.
The stop in Denver featured free BBQ, lemonade and giveaways. And Midas is offering free oil changes at participating Midas locations for a donation of 10 cans or $10 for a limited time. Please contact your local location for details. Thank you Midas for bringing awareness to hunger in our community and helping us feed our neighbors!
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.
6:02 PM on Tuesday, July 7th, 2015No Comments
When a creative group of people put their heads and hearts together, they can make a huge difference in the lives of hungry men, women and children. And even have fun in the process.
The good folks at Caliber Collision did exactly that during their 2015 Rhythm Restoration Food Drive. They heard how families can struggle in the summer months when school is out, forced to find more resources, not only for food, but also for day care and transportation. And summer isn’t the season when most people think about giving back. We’re grateful the Caliber Collision team decided to help this summer!
After a successful food and fund drive last year, the team was determined to raise even more money and food this year. They put their heads together and came up with all sorts of ways to help Food Bank of the Rockies.
From paying to throw a pie at their co-worker to asking for contributions from their vendors, customers and business partners, even tasking their kids with collecting food and funds, this dynamic bunch raised enough to provide nearly 150,000 meals to our community!
Thank you Caliber Collision! We applaud not only your amazing efforts to help us nourish our community, but also your generous and fun-loving spirit. Because of your kindness, many families will have less to worry about because they’ll have enough to eat this summer.