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Caring for Community Families: We’re All in This Together

Jonelle from Clayton Learning Centers - focused on caring for our community

In order to leave a positive and lasting impact, we all have to do our part to care for our community, and here at Food Bank of the Rockies, our team is ready to do just that. Throughout the years, we’ve seen how important it is for parents to have healthy food options, fresh produce, and enough time to spend with their children in order to keep them happy and healthy.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where time is at a premium, and it is often logistically easier and many times more affordable to dish up meals that may not be as nourishing in order to spend quality time with our kids. So how do we find a sustainable balance?

Juggling Shopping, Work, and Family Time Is A Struggle

Janelle is one of the many parents who has struggled to find the time to work, go shopping for healthy foods, and remain an active part of her children’s lives. As a single parent, her income only stretches so far because she has a son with fairly significant dietary restrictions.

“Having access to fresh foods has been challenging at times. In my situation, vegetables are really important. I have a 16-year-old who eats like two grown men,” she says. “Anyone who has kids knows that they can sometimes put away massive amounts of food, and that’s my son.”

While Janelle’s daughter was a student at Clayton Early Learning, one of our Hunger Relief Partners, she was able to get fresh, nutritious food through our Totes of Hope program, which we’ve been using to care for our community since 2006 to assist children with getting food when they aren’t in school. During the previous fiscal year alone, we distributed approximately 185,000 totes and served 468,000 meals and almost 121,000 snacks to children through our kids’ programs.

Janelle and her family aren’t the only ones we’ve helped during challenging times. She is a social worker, and she knows many families who face similar problems with food insecurity. Even so, she knows that fresh food can make everything easier – from cooking healthy meals to simply feeling your best. “Food is really important. How can you go to work or take care of your kids if you’re not feeling well because you haven’t eaten right?” she says. “Food is essential.”

Our partner schools make this opportunity possible for many families. Not only do they get to eat nutritious food, but they also get the chance to sit down and eat together, sharing stories and bonding as a family.

Partner Schools Make Caring For Our Community’s Families That Much Easier

Becky Crowe, President & CEO of Clayton Early Learning sitting outside with children while she cares for her community

Partnering with schools like Clayton Early Learning has made it possible for us at Food Bank of the Rockies to care for our community by targeting community members who need our help the most. “When COVID-19 closed Colorado in early March, we had families in need of food right away, families who’d lost their jobs and their source of food. Through this partnership, we’ve been able to meet the needs of our families,” says Becky Crowe, President & CEO of Clayton Early Learning. “The shift from being able to provide some basic needs here and there to a weekly drive-through where families were able to garner an entire week’s worth of food was a game-changer for us. It’s been a shoulder-to-shoulder community partnership from the day we started. We had hundreds of cars coming through our food bank line the first week we set this up. We’ve been able to serve families every Friday afternoon since early April, meeting their most dire needs in terms of food insecurity.”

Our totes contain all the necessary ingredients to prepare nourishing meals that will please people of all age groups, including kids who can be somewhat picky.

“The totes are helpful for families because they ensure that they don’t have to worry about where their next set of meals is going to come from,” remarked Maricela Palomares, Director of Community Partnerships at Clayton Early Learning. “The way we’ve structured this partnership, it helps alleviate stress for families. They know they can pick up a phone and say, ‘My family needs food,’ and they’ll receive nutritious and healthy food that’s going to get them through the weekend. We know that children who eat nutritious meals thrive; it helps their brain development and focus. So, that is what we’re striving to provide to all families who need it.”

Teachers, coaches, parents, and members within the community all see benefits in children who are well fed and have proper nutrition.

Communities Rallying Around Families

Partners, volunteers, and donors all make it possible for our Food Bank of the Rockies team to help families large and small. Children are among the most vulnerable in these times, so we will go to great lengths to ensure that they can continue having a childhood where playing, learning, and using their imaginations is their daily routine. We don’t want any child wondering where they are going to get their next meal.

If you have it in your heart to help, please reach out to us today. Your time, support, and spirit will go directly to helping us care for our communities by feeding children (and families) in need.

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