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.
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!
11:40 AM on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014No Comments
During the holidays, many businesses want to give back to their communities. Often, the first thought when wanting to help food banks is to host a traditional, non-perishable food drive. Food Bank of the Rockies accepts food drive donations and encourages people to clean out their pantries and donate unwanted but still nutritious items, especially during large food drives through 9Cares Colorado Shares in the fall and summer and the National Association of Letter Carriers in the spring.
But because Food Bank of the Rockies can shop at wholesale or less through the Feeding America network and procure large donations from generous grocers, manufacturers, wholesalers and the agricultural community, we strongly encourage organizations to host virtual food drives rather than going out and purchasing food on our behalf. Hard earned funds can go much further when you let us do the “shopping.”
Every dollar raised allows our food bank to distributed five pounds of food, including perishable items like produce, dairy and meat. We’re good stewards of donor funds, receiving a BBB accreditation and 4-Star (highest) Charity Navigator rating. 96 cents of every dollar we receive goes to food distribution.
And virtual food drives are easy for organizations to host - just ask Slalom Consulting!
Slalom Consulting, a business and technology consulting firm, has had tremendous success hosting virtual food drives, raising nearly $15,000 over the past three years – enough to provide almost 60,000 meals and 75,000 pounds of food!
The Slalom Consulting team lives and works in the communities they serve, and strives to make them better and stronger. Knowing that many people along the Front Range struggle with hunger, they decided to focus their efforts on helping Food Bank of the Rockies.
Since the team serves clients across the Front Range, and often doesn’t make it back to the office on a weekly basis, they decided to utilize the virtual food drive service provided by Food Bank of the Rockies. Through the virtual food drive, they were able to actively engage their team and clients to contribute from any location with an internet connection. Their team found the ease of contribution through the virtual food drive a key factor in their increased donations year over year.
It has also lead to increased awareness and participation in their onsite service days volunteering at the food bank warehouse. The added benefit of the virtual food drive is that Food Bank of the Rockies, in conjunction with their community partners, is better able to source and meet the needs of those struggling to put food on their tables within our community.
“Based on Slalom’s experience with the ease of setup, maintenance, and contributions through the virtual food drive, I encourage businesses and organizations to take advantage of this opportunity,” says Joseph Kennedy, client service lead at Slalom Consulting. “We can all have a direct and lasting impact on food scarcity across the Front Range community.”
Food Bank of the Rockies is grateful for Slalom Consulting and the tremendous results they've achieved through hosting virtual food drives!
If your organization would like to learn more about hosting a virtual food drive or partnering with us, please visit our Community Partners page. And if you’re ready to get started on your drive, here’s the link.
When you think of heroes, you might visualize someone in uniform, maybe even someone wearing a cape and tights, but when the team at Food Bank of the Rockies thinks about a hero, we think about Ron Torpy, our long-time volunteers and truly a hero to the hungry in our community.
Come visit our reclamation area Monday - Wednesday, and even a few Saturdays, and you're likely to find Ron there, sorting food, lifting boxes and helping the other volunteers with questions. Ron, a retired letter carrier, will tell you he enjoys the physical activity and keeping in shape. And we're sure glad he does. Since 2003, Ron has contributed more than 13,400 hours - the equivalent of 6 1/2 years of full time work!
We were so excited when 7 News' Mitch Jelniker surprised Ron with a visit to the food bank during one of his volunteer shifts to present him with a 7 Everyday Hero award.
Thank you Ron for all you do to help us fight hunger. You are truly deserving of this honor and we're so grateful to have you as a volunteer!
Watch Ron's story on Channel 7's webpage.
A new group of volunteers helped us ring in Warehouse Wednesday this week. A team of hardworking employees from the newly formed Ardent Mills sorted food, filled orders and even paired up some donated crutches.
Ardent Mills, the largest flour miller in the U.S., combines the operations of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling, a joint venture of Cargill Inc. and CHS Inc.
Our food bank has benefited from contributions of food and funds from these organizations for many years, so when the new venture selected Denver for its headquarters, we were very excited. We had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Dye, Ardent Mills CEO, who shared his thoughts about how the organization plans to give back to our community.
We’re so grateful for our new neighbor, Ardent Mills and their commitment to help us feed the community. Thank you to all the team members who rolled up their sleeves and volunteered with us. Welcome to Denver. We looking forward to many more opportunities to work together!
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!
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!
Panera 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!
Our warehouse was bustling with volunteers last Friday morning and we had some special guests filling orders in our distribution area. The National At-Home Dad Network hosted their 18th annual convention right here in Denver over the weekend. Several members came from across the country and wanted to give back while they were here. We had a chance to visit with Richard Blake who organized the volunteer activity.
Here’s a big THANK YOU to these terrific volunteers for being caring parents and for making a difference for the hungry in our community! We appreciate you lending a hand in our warehouse during your visit to Denver.
Interested in volunteering with FBR? Please visit our volunteer page to learn more!
We often get groups who are interested in bringing families and kiddos to FBR to volunteer. As a result, we have organized a number of Family Volunteer Days. On Saturday, August 3rd, The Medical Center of Aurora brought an awesome group of 46 volunteers of all ages to help us pack backpacks full of schools supplies, sort reclamation food and pack food boxes for one of our government programs. We had a blast hosting this group that has become like an extension of the FBR family. Thanks Medical Center of Aurora!
Contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in setting up a family day!