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August Partner Newsletter

Welcome Letter

Produce Season is Here!

Zucchini from Milberger Farms in Pueblo, CO

While most of us see August as an ending — of summer, of vacations, of kids being off from school — for Colorado’s produce industry, it is the height of busy season. August features the most variety and availability of locally grown produce around Colorado, from Olathe sweet corn and Palisade peaches to Rocky Ford melon and Pueblo chiles and so much more. Food Bank of the Rockies is proud to partner with more than 25 growers from around the state each year to provide fresh, local produce to our communities. During our last fiscal year, we purchased nearly 2 million pounds of produce from local Colorado growers, and plan to increase that this year!

One new program that we are excited to pilot this year is our work with six food hubs around the state. Working with these food hubs enables us to support dozens more Colorado growers, access more variety and volume of produce, and circulate funds into local economies. We are also able to work with growers to grow specially requested items for our Culturally Responsive Food Initiative (CRFI), such as tomatillos and chiles. Providing our communities with produce that is important and familiar to them is a priority for us, and being able to source those items from growers in the communities we serve is even more special. We are excited to see how this pilot succeeds, and expand it in years to come!

Have a safe and happy rest of the summer — and hit up those farmers’ markets and farm stands as much as you can to get some of the best-tasting fruits and veggies you’ll ever have!

Colleen Daszkiewicz
Perishable Food Sourcing Lead

SNAP Assistance in Person or by Phone

Clients interested in applying for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps) are encouraged to reach out to Sam Alexander and Vanessa Bernal, our SNAP Outreach Representatives at Food Bank of the Rockies. Sam and Vanessa are able to help clients apply for benefits in 15 minutes in-person or on the phone. To sign up, clients can call 303-375-5851, meet them at one of our mobile food pantries, or email fbrsnap@foodbankrockies.org.

Our SNAP team is also available to attend a food distribution conducted by our Hunger Relief Partners. Contact them today to schedule: 303-375-5851 or fbrsnap@foodbankrockies.org.

SNAP Application Assistance Flyer (click image enlarge)

Food for Kids Update

Food Bank of the Rockies is currently accepting applications for the 2022–2023 Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which provides meals to kids after school. The program offers an assortment of nutritious food for qualified neighborhoods and programs. Organizations in areas where 50% or more of school children qualify for free or reduced prices lunches may be qualified to participate. If you meet this eligibility and your site provides after-school activities and programs to kids 18 years of age or younger, please consider providing kids a meal through CACFP. We can also work with locations where kids have a four-day school week.

CACFP partners have the option of choosing between fresh and shelf-stable meals. As a sponsor of this program, Food Bank of the Rockies provides the food and administrative support at no cost to partners. Interested partners need to complete an application; training will be provided by Food Bank of the Rockies.

For questions, call Kodi Phelps at 303-375-5868 or email kphelps@foodbankrockies.org.

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This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

children eating a nourishing lunch from our Food For Kids program

Important Dates

  • Monday, September 5: Closed for Labor Day
  • Saturday, September 10: Open 9:00–11:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, September 13: Virtual partner orientation 10:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday, September 14: Link2Feed Training 9:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, September 22: Link2Feed Training 12:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 29: Virtual partner orientation 1:00 p.m.
  • Friday, September 30: Closed at 12:00 p.m.

Please visit the September Calendar for the full schedule. For our full calendar of important dates, please refer to the 2022 calendar. If you have any questions, please contact our Partner Support Team at partnersupport@foodbankrockies.org.

Food Access Seed Distribution Program

Food Bank of the Rockies is teaming up again with Denver’s Ekar Farm to provide a free seed distribution program in the Rocky Mountain region for the Spring 2023 growing season.

Ekar Farm, in collaboration with local organizations and the national Cooperative Gardens Commission, has been distributing seed packets and growing information in the Denver metro area since the beginning of the pandemic.

Now in the third season, Ekar Farm and Food Bank of the Rockies are looking for more partners to help share seeds in their communities throughout the Rocky Mountain and Eastern Plains regions to support new and veteran gardeners alike.

This is a great opportunity to provide seeds to your neighbors and give them another way to obtain nutritious food! Communities have done this in a variety of ways, distributing at pantries, mobile pantries, libraries, and schools. Can you find ways to impact your community and get people involved in producing their own food? Ekar Farm will help you connect with resources to help your new growers be successful.

To take part in this program or to offer feedback and advice on how it can best serve the communities you reach, please fill out this survey or email partnersupport@foodbankrockies.org.

Meet New Team Members

Mobile Pantry Representative: Brandy Atkins

Brandy Atkins headshot

Dear Mobile Pantry Site Coordinators,

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you as the new Mobile Pantry Representative at Food Bank of the Rockies. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you in the upcoming months during my many site visits!

I see myself as a weaver and a connector of dots. I strive to link together builders, communicate in ways that meet people where they are at, and create a whole that is greater than its parts. It is clear to me that beyond technical fixes and silver bullets, it is the commitment to community that can serve as a true foundation for transformation. My many years in community engagement has shown me the importance of meeting people and organizations where they are at when communicating, as well as the need for transparency and patience in building a resilient foundation.

I plan to hit the ground running and be very present at each mobile pantry site. I look forward to building upon the successes each of you have already created and helping you make each site even more amazing than they already are. Thank you for all your hard work!

Brandy Atkins
Mobile Pantry Representative

Food for Kids Manager: Kodi Phelps

Kodi Phelps headshot

Kodi Phelps (she/her) is the new Food for Kids Manager at Food Bank of the Rockies, working out of 45th Avenue. Kodi has a background in nonprofit work and higher education with 13 years of experience creating educational programming focusing on diversity, inclusion, and social justice topics. For her master’s thesis, she created a fat identity development theory with research grounded in decolonized methodologies. Throughout her career, Kodi has led multiple workshops and presentations, in particular around body diversity, including her TEDx CSU talk, “Does this Oppression Make Me Look Fat? How We Unlearn the Number on the Scale.” Welcome to Food Bank of the Rockies, Kodi!

 

Food for Kids Supervisor: Kate Budd

Kate Budd's headshot

We are pleased to announce the promotion of Kate Budd to the role of Food for Kids Supervisor. Prior to this position, Kate was our Mobile Pantry Representative, leading operations for over 30 distributions a month. In her new role, Kate will lead the administrative team for our kids hunger relief programs: CACFP (after-school meals), SFSP (summer meals), and Totes of Hope™. To reach Kate and learn more about these programs, contact her at 303-375-5862 or kbudd@foodbankrockies.org

Program Insights

Farmworker Appreciation

This month, we recognized August 6 as Farmworker Appreciation Day. These hard-working members of our community are an essential part of our food system, yet they often go unacknowledged. We enjoy the fruits of their labor at the store, market, and pantry, yet never see the time, effort, and care that goes into growing and harvesting the foods that nourish our communities. Let us all take time this month to thank the farmworkers in our communities!

Fresh produce continues to be the most requested item by partners and neighbors, and the Food Bank looks forward to expanding relationships with local farms and farmworkers to increase the amount of culturally responsive produce we source.

What Our Partners Are Saying

“Link2Feed is a much nicer client experience; it is quicker and clients enjoy not having to give their personal information over and over. There are also many cool features already in place and Link2Feed rapidly adjusts to needs and produces improvements we could not even imagine. The Quick-Click, barcode scanner, and CNCT features are just some of the functionalities that allow us to improve service, greatly reduce paperwork, and serve more clients better.” -Heidi Andrews, Jewish Family Service of Colorado

If this sounds like a great experience to you, email L2F@foodbankrockies.org to learn how your organization can improve your client intake experience! Sign up for a Link2Feed training today at: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/e3afd8bc4e834e889dcc4a98835ee9e5

Partner Highlight: Gilpin County Food Pantry

Gilpin County Food Pantry

Up in the mountains outside of Denver sits Gilpin County, home to 5,873 residents. The tight-knit community has only one fully operational food pantry, the Gilpin County Food Pantry. Founded in 1995, the food pantry initially served as an additional way to support community members who visited the Gilpin Department of Human Services for medical assistance, SNAP applications, child care assistance, and other benefits. In 2012, the food pantry expanded to offer services to all Gilpin residents and in 2021 they upgraded to their own building.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, Gilpin County Food Pantry used a mobile distribution to efficiently and quickly serve clients. Now, with their own building, the pantry has adopted a client-choice model of shopping. According to Courtney Peters, a Health and Human Services Administrator for the County of Gilpin, this transition has made “people feel more comfortable coming in because they have control over what food they are getting.”

Additionally, the client choice model allows for more flexibility depending on the size of the household. A recent adopter of Link2Feed, Gilpin County is able to identify a growing number of new families visiting for food assistance and spark conversations around what additional resources may be available for the clients and their families.

The Gilpin County Food Pantry credits its success to collaborations with other area food pantries, including Loaves and Fishes Idaho Springs, its committed group of volunteers, and the commissioners and staff who have shared in the vision of providing nourishing food and essentials to community members. When asked to share advice for other pantries serving small communities, Peters emphasized the importance of building strong relationships with neighboring pantries to be able to share resources and collectively build community. With a bigger facility envisioned for the future, the pantry hopes to be able to offer nutrition, gardening, and cooking classes for families.

The Gilpin County Food Pantry is open every Thursday from 1:30–3:45 p.m.. Questions? Call Courtney at 303-528-5444 or Corinne at 720-432-6120.

Join Our Team

Join Food Bank of the Rockies as a staff member and help us ignite the power of community to nourish people facing hunger. If working to alleviate hunger in your community sounds like how you would like to spend your day, check out these exciting career opportunities today.

Community Insights Representative

This Denver-based position is an integral member of the Food Bank of the Rockies Programs team, responsible for assisting with the implementation of our service insights program, Link2Feed, within our partner network and mobile pantries. Link2Feed is designed to acquire better client and program demographics with a goal of telling a more detailed story of who and where we serve. The Community Insights Representative will facilitate trainings, provide excellent customer service to new and existing sites, and help in the expansion and development of Link2Feed across our Hunger Relief Partner network. Learn more here.

Western Slope Programs Manager

This position is responsible for leading, assisting, and collaborating in the overall planning, implementation, and evaluation of all hunger-relief programs conducted by the Western Slope’s Programs Department, comprising four areas: Partner Support, Government Programs, Food For Kids, and Outreach. The Programs Manager will act accordingly to meet guidelines and regulations for Feeding America, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Food Bank of the Rockies, and support and implement Food Bank of the Rockies’ strategic plan. Learn more here.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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