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December Partner Newsletter

food bank volunteers holding boxes of food

I am feeling very thankful this holiday season for many things, and especially for each of you. The work that you do every day to help others is something to celebrate! It is an honor to work together with each of you to get food to our communities.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to be with family during the holidays, and a lot of those times together will involve sharing food. For many of the neighbors that we support together, their holiday will be brighter because of the work that you have done. Food brings us together, fuels our celebrations, and allows us to feel a part of a safe, happy world.

This has been another very challenging year with inflation making food very expensive and causing all of us to make difficult choices at the supermarket. Thousands of people have made harrowing journeys from other countries and arrived in Colorado in need of nourishing, familiar food. As our partners, you have answered this call with compassion, ingenuity, and drive, for which we are so thankful and continue to seek ways to support you. We at Food Bank of the Rockies have been working hard to find more donated food, to stretch funding from the state of Colorado to provide food with the Colorado Emergency Food program, and to advocate with the federal government for more food for our neighbors. We are seeing encouraging signs regarding food supply and have increased the amount of food we distribute significantly starting in August.

I appreciate the hard work of everyone involved in this critically important work, and I hope that each of you can find some rest and peace during the holiday season. Happy holidays to each of you!

Steve Kullberg
Chief Operations Officer

Important Dates

  • January 1 – Food Bank of the Rockies is closed for New Year’s Day.
  • January 9 – Orientation at 10:00 a.m.
  • January 13 – Partner Support: Open Saturday 9:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
  • January 25 – Orientation at 1:00 p.m.
  • January 31 – Food Bank of the Rockies is closing early. Pick-ups and Fresh Food Center available until 11:00 a.m.

To sign up for orientation or for questions about any of the dates above, contact partnersupport@foodbankrockies.org. For our full, detailed calendars, please click here.

Program Updates

EverGreen Boxes™ Transitioning to Everyday Eats

Moving forward, Food Bank of the Rockies and our Hunger Relief Partners will transition from referring to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) as EverGreen Boxes™ to using the name Everyday Eats. No other changes will occur to the program aside from the name change. If you have any questions about this change, please contact Britni Stupin: bstupin@foodbankrockies.org

Government Programs

A note from Britni Stupin, Government Programs Manager:

I wish to express my gratitude to all who partner with us to serve our neighbors through the CSFP program each and every month. Older adults are facing a myriad of challenges due to the end of COVID-era SNAP benefits back in March and increasing housing and food costs. We all have risen to meet the increased need and, this past October, we served 6,379 neighbors through this program. This is a huge accomplishment, and I am proud to partner with each and every one of you. In recognition of our hard work, I am working hard to convey to the federal government the importance of this program and the growing need for resources.

I am so excited to see how we can improve this program in 2024 and am inviting partners participating in this program to join us for a 2023 recap of our accomplishments. Please join us for this chance to recognize our successes, discuss our opportunities, and collaborate as a network. Upcoming meeting dates are:

Tuesday, January 9, from 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Thursday, January 25, from 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Please contact Britni Stupin to add any discussion items to the meeting agenda: bstupin@foodbankrockies.org. We look forward to seeing you!

Colorado Emergency Food Update

Thank you to our Hunger Relief Partners for putting so much Colorado Emergency Fund-supported food into communities and providing for our neighbors during this time of increased need. As you may recall, last May, Food Bank of the Rockies was awarded $5.4 million from the State of Colorado – this award is called Colorado Emergency Funds (CEF). All of these funds are being spent on food for our partners to order at no cost. We continue to procure food items based on feedback received from our partners in the Partner Network meetings held last spring.

Thanks to the input from partners:

  • 49 unique items have been available
  • 2,727,897 lbs. of CEF product have been distributed to our partners
  • 388 partners have participated in the CEF program
  • CEF product is being distributed by partners in all 32 counties in our Colorado service area

Have you been ordering your allocation of free items? Partners should search Agency Express for items labeled as “CEF” when placing orders. These are items available to our partners at no fee. To ensure equitable access for our neighbors, we will limit the amount of CEF products each organization can order. When you see the CEF items on the shopping list, the quantity you see is YOUR allocation. Don’t miss out – order it up! We will continue to make products available until funding has run out or through June 30, 2024. Please contact Partner Support with any questions about the CEF ordering process or the items available: partnersupport@foodbankrockies.org

Partner Support

Do you have a question or would you like more information about our programs? Our Partner Support team is available 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. Emails and calls received after 4:00 p.m. will be returned as soon as possible the following business day. Thank you!

graphic of partner support hours

 

CRFI Update

Leah's Pantry Logo

Feeding America and Food Bank of the Rockies invites you to explore ways to bring a trauma-sensitive approach to your food distribution programs for families with children. Feeding America has partnered with Leah’s Pantry, a national leader in trauma-informed nutrition, to provide a learning opportunity, detailed below. There is no financial cost to you to join.

Trauma-Sensitive Basics for the Charitable Food Network: A 90-minute, self-paced training that includes videos, readings, and reflection activities. Spots may be filled by organizational staff and/or partner agency representatives.

Participants will:

  • Develop an understanding of how positive and adverse experiences affect individual and community relationships to food.
  • Explore implications for the charitable food system, especially for reaching families with children.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please complete this registration form: https://forms.gle/eyJADu9vzbE1xnCc6

Please send any questions to Ashley Newell, Food Bank of the Rockies’ Director of Programs: anewell@foodbankrockies.org

 

Advocacy/Policy Updates

New USDA Data on Food Insecurity

In October, the USDA released its report Household Food Security in the United States in 2022. The data is sobering, showing that 44 million people (1 in 7), including 13 million children (1 in 5), in the U.S. lived in food-insecure households in 2022. This is an increase of 31% and 44% respectively from 2021, the highest rate and number since 2014 and the largest one-year increase since 2008. Food insecurity increased for nearly every subgroup and population described in the report.

Farm Bill

The 2018 Farm Bill has received a one-year extension through September 30, 2024. This authorizes the continuity of all mandatory and discretionary programs in their current form, while Congress continues to negotiate critical updates to include in the next Farm Bill reauthorization. Congressional Farm Bill negotiators have already stated their intention to move swiftly in 2024 to consider Farm Bill legislation. Our advocacy for a strong Farm Bill that invests in nutrition programs will continue without pause.

State Session

Feeding Colorado is prepping for next year’s state legislative session by continuing to engage with state lawmakers for tours and educational sessions regarding our network. We are finalizing our state policy priorities to guide our actions and positions for next year and are excited to find solutions to hunger and work with our state legislators to support our network and communities we serve.

Get involved!

Are you interested in sharing why you care about fighting hunger with members of the Colorado legislature? Email Sarah Mason at Feeding Colorado (sgregory@feedingcolorado.org) to learn more about opportunities to engage in public policy work!

 

Welcome to the Team!

Elizabeth Brethen headshot

Elizabeth Brethen (She/Her/Hers), Home Delivery Coordinator

Elizabeth Brethen is our new Home Delivery Coordinator. Her role will focus on streamlining our delivery processes for both our Healthcare Program and Everyday Eats Program (formerly known as EverGreen Boxes™) in hopes to expand the programs to reach more of our neighbors. Elizabeth is new to Denver, having relocated to the city about a month ago from North Carolina. She is excited to explore some winter weather sports as well as check out the Denver music scene. She has a 7-year-old blue heeler/lab mix, named Saint, and a black cat, named Maverick. In her free time, she loves to hike or go for a jog with her pup. She has worked in a myriad of customer-facing roles for the last decade and has a strong desire to help people. Elizabeth’s future sister-in-law works for Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and her work inspired Elizabeth to check out Food Bank of the Rockies. Being her first time in food banking, Elizabeth is excited about the prospect of leveraging her skills to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals and families in need.

 

Reanna Holmes headshot

Reanna Holmes (They/Them/Theirs), Food For Kids Representative

Reanna Holmes (they/them/theirs) is our new Totes of Hope™ representative on the Food for Kids team! They grew up in Connecticut and have lived in the Denver area for over five years. They are a social worker, artist, and drag king. Reanna produces a monthly drag show in Denver with their partner; the show is designed to help newer performers and create a safe communal space for all. They enjoy spending time in nature and growing food in their garden with their family. They also have three dogs and three cats at home! You can reach out to Reanna about Food Bank of the Rockies’ Totes of Hope™ program at ffk@foodbankrockies.org.

 

christy johnson headshot

Christina (Christy) Johnson (She/Her/Hers), Regional Engagement Lead

Christy is our new Regional Engagement Lead! Christy has 15 years of experience in marketing, promotional work, event planning, public relations, customer service, and sales. Her favorite part of having all those different roles was to develop connections, build strong relationships, and unite people. Christy truly believes that kindness can be life changing. She is absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity with Food Bank of the Rockies and looks forward to connecting with and meeting all of you and learning how to help support you. Outside of work, she enjoys playing and watching sports, and all the outdoor adventures Colorado has to offer!

Partner Highlight – We Don’t Waste

a group of people standing in front of the We Don't Waste van

Forty percent of all food in America ends up unsold or uneaten. However, We Don’t Waste, a non-profit founded in 2009, has made it their mission to increase food access and protect the planet by rescuing and repurposing food while educating and advocating to increase food security and decrease food waste.

As one of the largest food-recovery organizations in Colorado, We Don’t Waste rescues food from restaurants, venues, caterers, distributors, producers, and institutions to keep good food out of the landfill. They then redistribute this delicious food to their partners at no cost. In the Denver metro area, they also reach communities through mobile food markets that work to increase access to nutritious foods throughout the greater Denver region.

From their website: “We prioritize rescuing perishable items such as fresh produce, lean proteins, and dairy products. Not only do these foods have a shorter shelf life, but their production has the greatest impact on the environment. As an added benefit, we’re able to provide families and individuals with fresh foods, which can be very difficult to access, particularly for families living in food deserts. And we’re able to supplement the food assistance provided by our partner nonprofits. This allows our nonprofit recipient partners to consistently serve people with healthy and wholesome foods without increasing their operating costs — and allows them to spend more of their precious financial resources on other programming, rather than purchasing food.”

Food rescue is only part of their programming — they also offer events, opportunities to engage in advocacy, and programs promoting engagement and education. Check out their education page for tips, tricks, and a fun quiz! Thank you, We Don’t Waste, for helping the Colorado community to save in so many ways!

 

Neighbor Resources

SNAP EBT Online Purchasing Power Expands

In 2020, Colorado was approved to provide online purchasing of groceries from authorized SNAP online retailers by households who receive SNAP benefits. This approval allowed Colorado to launch online purchasing by SNAP recipients using their EBT card as payment; this includes delivery apps like DoorDash and Instacart. Recently, Kroger announced they will now accept EBT cards as payment for groceries ordered for delivery or pick-up. This includes King Soopers and City Market stores. Please note that only eligible food may be purchased with SNAP benefits. Delivery and processing fees with online purchases are not allowed to be covered with SNAP benefits.

For the most updated information on which retailers accept EBT as payment, visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailer-locator. For information about applying and using benefits, visit Food Bank of the Rockies’ SNAP page, foodbankrockies.org/about/programs/snap/, or contact our SNAP Outreach Team at FBRSNAP@foodbankrockies.org

 

Open Position Spotlight

We are hiring a Community Data Supervisor

As a vital force in our Community Data Team under the Department of Insights and Impact, the Community Data Supervisor will lead the charge in implementing Feeding America’s Service Insights Initiative software, Link2Feed. This SaaS platform aims to gather vital demographics and visitation data, empowering us to tell a compelling story of our impact. This role will involve collecting, cleaning, and reporting on this invaluable data, making an impact on grants, federal and state reporting, and life-changing program evaluations.

If you are ready to roll out Link2Feed, train Community Data Coordinators, and foster relationships with our programs department, this is your chance to be part of something bigger. Join us in telling the detailed story of who, where, and how frequently we serve – because every data point counts in nourishing every neighbor.

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.

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