Dear Hunger Relief Partner,
Happy Earth Month! On April 22, we will be celebrating the 53rd annual Earth Day by continuing to support our local farmers. Supporting local growers is a great way to take action during Earth Month. Many local farms follow regenerative practices, which help to nourish the soil and reduce the carbon footprint of agricultural production.
“If you’ve never heard about the amazing potential of regenerative agriculture and land use practices to naturally sequester a critical mass of CO2 in the soil and forests, you’re not alone. One of the best-kept secrets in the world today is that the solution to…the climate crisis (as well as poverty and deteriorating public health) lies right under our feet, and at the end of our knives and forks.”
– Ronnie Cummins, Regeneration International Steering Committee Member
We are excited to continue contributing to this work through our partnerships. In 2022, we provided you, our Hunger Relief Partners, with over 9.5 million pounds of produce through our FRESH Program. Of that 9.5 million, 20% of it grew right here in Colorado. Through our partnership with Ekar Farm, we are working to distribute seeds and teach folks how to grow them. Some of you have also gotten your hands dirty through urban farming. HALO, based in Adams and Logan Counties, has started a community farm supported by its neighbors. This 2023 season, we are hoping to expand our work and continue distributing locally grown, nutrient-dense food in order to get one step closer to closing the meal gap.
To accomplish this mission, Colorado’s local farmers are gearing up for a big season ahead, and we are eagerly awaiting the influx of fresh vegetables, sweet fruits, and nutritious snacks that will soon fill our neighbors’ plates. Colorado’s growing season is shorter and more erratic than some of our surrounding states; last year, we saw our final freeze in May. This unpredictable weather creates challenges when it comes to keeping a consistent inventory of farm-fresh produce year-round. However, we are extremely grateful to you for your patience throughout the colder months. We are also grateful to our Colorado farmers for navigating Mother Nature’s ups and downs and providing us with nourishment through it all.
Through your partnership with us, you are supporting these practices and growing alongside us as we learn. Thank you for helping us unite as a community to support our farmers, our planet, and our neighbors.
Josie Gilmore, Programs Outreach Representative
Due to two office closures in May (May 5 and May 29), please make note of several ordering timeline changes. View May calendar.
- May 2 – Orientation at 10:00 a.m.
- May 3 – Orders accepted for May 8 until 3:00 p.m.
- May 4 – Orders accepted for May 9 until 3:00 p.m.
- May 5 – Food Bank of the Rockies will be closed for Feeding Colorado Conference
- May 13 – Partner Support: Open Saturday 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
- May 18 – Orientation at 1:00 p.m.
- May 25 – Orders accepted for May 30 until 3:00 p.m.
- May 26 – Orders accepted for May 31 until 3:00 p.m.
- May 29 – Food Bank of the Rockies will be closed for Memorial Day
- May 31 – Food Bank of the Rockies will be closing early. Food pick-ups and Fresh Food Center until 11:00 a.m.
Historic State Investment in Hunger Relief
On March 6, 2023, Governor Jared Polis signed into law $14 million in supplemental funding to the Colorado Department of Human Services to assist the emergency food assistance network in procuring additional food considering SNAP Emergency Allotments ended. We are thrilled about this historic investment in hunger relief from the State, and grateful for the recognition of how crucial this challenging time is for SNAP participants. Feeding Colorado food banks look forward to further details about this funding and stand ready to respond to the need in our communities.
Farm Bill Watch
The Farm Bill is due to be reauthorized later this year. Check out Feeding America’s Farm Bill Legislation Watch Page, which includes our network’s Farm Bill priorities, fast facts, and an overview of this important legislation.
City of Aurora Neighborhood Improvement Grant Opportunity
The Neighborhood Improvement Grant is designed to improve the appearance of Aurora neighborhoods while strengthening the social fabric and organizational networks of the community.
The city allocated $60,000 for grants for 2023, with a maximum of $5,000 per awarded project. The competitive grants promote projects that improve a neighborhood’s physical condition, enhance pride and identity, increase neighborhood communication, and bring new assets to the neighborhood that foster gathering and positive experiences. Click here for more information. Apply via this link April 21.
Hello from the SNAP team! As you all probably know, the end of Pandemic Era SNAP benefits mean that many folks are no longer receiving the maximum monthly allotment. To maximize current benefits, we recommend SNAP recipients make sure that they have added all eligible family members, and included all possible deductions, which include utility bills, healthcare expenses, and childcare costs. Our team at Food Bank of the Rockies would be happy to assist in this process. Anyone interested can reach us at 303-375-5851 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. The application process takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
We are also looking to expand our outreach in the upcoming months and would love to assist your organizations to reach more neighbors. If there are events or food distributions that could benefit from attendance by one of our SNAP Outreach Representatives, feel free to send Sam Alexander (email@example.com) an email to discuss further.
Thank you to all those who joined our quarterly training for the EverGreen Boxes™, a program of Everyday Eats. We appreciated all the questions and feedback. For those of you who were not able to join us, we recorded the training and have the slides available for your review.
Agenda Items Covered:
- Team Updates
- Review of Updated 2023 Income Guidelines
- Agency Receipts
- End of Month Inventory Reports
- Civil Rights
- Partner Reviews
- L2F Updates
- SNAP Emergency Allotment Benefit
Food for Kids
Summer can be a tough time for many families who rely on their children’s schools to provide them with regular meals. Family grocery costs can rise as much as $300 per month over the summer and children who experience hunger are more likely to experience the “summer slide,” setting them behind academically for when they return to school in the fall.
Over 22 million children depend on their school’s breakfast and lunch program for regular meals and yet less than 3 million children participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). We need your help to close this gap.
The application for SFSP is now live! We will be sending out an email to all current CACFP and 2022 SFSP participants. You may also access the application in our Partner Portal under Partner Forms & Documents in the Food For Kids dropdown menu. We encourage you to share this information with other organizations who support children’s programming.
If your agency hasn’t participated before but is interested in learning more about the program, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Any questions regarding qualifications or the application process can be directed to our Food for Kids email at FFK@foodbankrockies.org.
Applications are now open for our 2023 Building Belonging Program! (Previously called the Inclusive Capacity Building program.)
Receive training and funding to address community cultural differences, language barriers, diverse food preferences, and other barriers to access to increase equity in your food distributions.
The program will run from May through December, with a two-month collaborative preparation and planning period followed by a six-month grant implementation period.
Click here for more information and the application. Applications are due by the end of the day Friday, April 28, 2023. Please reach out to CRFI@foodbankrockies.org with any questions.
If inflation is putting high-dollar proteins like meat, eggs, and seafood out of reach, encourage neighbors to embrace more affordable plant-based proteins. Legumes such as canned or dry beans, lentils, and peas can help folks stretch or replace meat while keeping their families full and nourished. Easy recipes like Lebanese-Inspired Mujadara with Lentils, Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas, or Vegetarian Three-Bean Chili include protein and fiber to create satisfying meals. Shop for seasonings to add flavor and spice to legumes, such as chili powder (#22650), cumin (#22653), and black pepper (#26225).
Bookmark our growing recipe library for more recipes in English and Spanish incorporating affordable ingredients.
We will be hosting Link2Feed trainings on May 10 at 9:00 a.m. and May 23 at 2:00 p.m. Please click here or email L2F@foodbankrockies.org to sign up for these sessions. If these dates do not work for you, please send us an email and we will do our best to accommodate.
Upcoming Changes to Link2Feed Phone Number Requirements
Beginning June 1, 2023, Link2Feed will change the phone number question from unrequired to required. The goal of this change is to increase Food Bank of the Rockies’ and Hunger Relief Partners’ compliance with government programs and product recall requirements. The Community Insights team will follow up directly with partners and users in the coming weeks to offer guidance through the transition.
If you’re interested in Link2Feed, have questions, or need technical support, you can reach the Community Insights team at L2F@foodbankrockies.org.
Local Farmer Work Highlight
Even in the middle of winter, as seeds are just beginning to be planted and growers are turning their thoughts to the upcoming growing season, there are surprising opportunities to source fresh, local Colorado produce.
Food Bank of the Rockies began a fruitful partnership with Uproot last year, a gleaning organization that organizes volunteers to harvest and donate excess fresh produce from farms and orchards on the Western Slope and Front Range of Colorado. When an orchard in Paonia reached out to Uproot in mid-March to donate 8,000 pounds of fresh storage Fuji apples from the fall harvest, Uproot and Food Bank of the Rockies moved quickly to coordinate and receive the donation.
As many of us know, having Colorado apples in March is an unexpected treat, and we were so excited to rescue this beautiful produce and make it available to our partners across the Western Slope. Our grower partnerships across the state are crucial to our mission to bring nutritious, local food to all of our communities, and we thank all of our growers and ranchers for the incredible work they do in providing us all with the food we enjoy every day!
Last month we celebrated the 50th anniversary of National Agriculture Day, and this month we look forward to Earth Day on April 22. In the spirit of supporting our earth and the food that comes from our local farms, we want to shine a spotlight on our friends at HALO Community Outreach in Adams and Logan Counties.
HALO believes the community can provide an effective means of intervening and preventing homelessness by building stronger communities, advocating for the community, and providing nutritious food choices and survival gear to people who fall on hard times. They recently built a large garden and chicken coop that supplements their food supply and showcases their dedication to their mission. Maintained by HALO’s shoppers, the farm is a source of respite where folks can unplug, enjoy getting their hands in the soil, and contribute to this sustainable food model.
There are many innovative solutions to the recent food shortages we are seeing, and HALO is one example of how we can address these issues while maintaining values of community, kindness, and sustainability. Thank you, HALO!
Open Position Spotlight: Production Cook Lead
The Production Cook Lead coordinates activities in the kitchen and prepares food according to industry standards for proper product handling, storage, and sanitation requirements. They are responsible for the inventory levels, controls, and maintenance of all production and work records associated with those functions. The Production Cook Lead also trains and utilizes volunteers to prepare food daily and maintains cooperative and cordial relations.
For full job postings and to see all opportunities with Food Bank of Rockies, please visit foodbankrockies.org/about/join-our-team.
Food Bank of the Rockies is an equal opportunity employer and offers paid time off, health, dental, and 401(k) benefits.
Summer Programs at CSU Spur
Have you noticed the development near the National Western Complex? This is CSU Spur, Denver’s new, free educational destination. In addition to regular programs to connect students to scientists, researchers, veterinary experts, and faculty, they are also offering rotating summer camps. Sign up today at csuspur.org/summer-programs.
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