Have you heard of the five love languages? According to author Gary Chapman, many people express love through quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, or acts of service. For me, food encompasses all five. Whether I’m flipping through faded cookbooks with my mom, complimenting my brother’s signature sriracha salmon, baking funfetti cookies for my best friend on her birthday, stretching pizza dough beside my partner, or connecting neighbors experiencing food insecurity with reliable nourishment, food is my love language.
In my role as a dietitian with Food Bank of the Rockies, I’m grateful to work alongside partners who also show love through food. Thank you for meeting neighbors where they are, for taking the time to understand cultures that may be unfamiliar to you, for asking questions about food preferences and health challenges, and for the many other ways you show love for your community. Together, our efforts serve as a crucial bridge to connect people who are feeling alone, overlooked, or afraid — not only with food, but with a community of support. I’m humbled to be a small part of that community.
Community Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator
March 5 – Orientation at 10:00 a.m.
March 9 – Partner Support: Open Saturday 9:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
March 21 – Orientation at 1:00 p.m.
March 29 – Food Bank of the Rockies is closing early. Pick-ups and Fresh Food Center until 11:00 a.m.
To sign up for orientation or for questions about any of the dates above, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For our full, detailed calendars, please click here.
The House and the Senate passed a continuing resolution to extend current government funding for the Farm Bill through March 1, 2024, for some departments and agencies, including the USDA, and March 8 for the remaining departments. This continuing resolution gives the House and Senate appropriations committees more time to negotiate spending bills for federal fiscal year 2024.
Once Congress finalizes spending legislation for fiscal year 2024, congressional Farm Bill leaders are hoping to move forward with consideration of Farm Bill legislation. House Agriculture Committee Chair GT Thompson anticipates that a draft of the House bill will be released in March, while Senate Republicans have also begun drafting their own framework for the next bill.
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. Feeding Colorado continues to engage with our Congressional Delegation to promote the network’s priorities in the Farm Bill.
Check out Feeding America’s new Farm Bill videos here; feel free to share on your social media pages for educational purposes!
The Colorado 2024 State Session convened on January 10, 2024. You can find our state policy priorities, designed to guide our actions and position for this year’s session, here on our website. We are excited to find solutions to hunger and work with our state legislators to support our network and the communities we support.
Get involved! New Resource Below!
You can make a difference by speaking up and speaking out against hunger and its root causes. Are you interested in getting more involved in advocacy? Fill out this form to learn more and get involved! https://forms.office.com/r/2sauRbHR0n
Lowe’s Hometowns Grant Program Now Open for Nominations
Our partners at Lowe’s are kicking off the third year of Lowe’s Hometowns, a five-year, $100 million community impact program dedicated to making communities better for all and inspiring community connection. Nominations will be accepted now through February 19.
Review the details, and submit your nomination for a community improvement project in your hometown.
Community Enrichment Grant – Adams County
The Adams County Community Enrichment Grant provides grants to nonprofit and publicly supported organizations to operate programs and services that improve the health, well-being, and self-sufficiency of underserved, marginalized, or vulnerable people living in Adams County. The grant must be used to “directly serve” Adams County residents. This is a competitive grant. Organizations must submit a complete application with all associated documents by the deadline to be considered for funding. Apply here: https://portal.neighborlysoftware.com/adamscountyco/participant
Expires 2/29/2024 at 11:59 p.m.
Food Access Seed Distribution Program – sign up by March 1
Food Bank of the Rockies is teaming up with Denver’s Ekar Farm for year three of our seed distribution program in the Rocky Mountain region for the spring 2024 growing season. This program was piloted in 2022 and, over the last two years, the organizations that received seeds have seen widespread success distributing seeds to Hunger Relief Partners. We are pleased to announce the program is expanding in 2024 to reach even more partners
The program supports new and veteran gardeners alike through the distribution of seeds, information, and more! If you are interested in being a part of this program and/or have feedback and advice on how it can best serve the communities you reach, please fill out this survey: Ekar Farm Seed Survey
Seeds will be available in late March, in time for the growing season. If you have any questions, please reach out to Chris Taylor, email@example.com or 303-375-5830.
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 these funds are spent on food for our partners to order at no cost. We were just awarded an additional $1.13 million on top of the original amount – more funding to provide more to our partners and support the increase in need seen in your communities.
Thanks to the input from partners:
- 95 unique items have been available
- 4,107,246 lbs. of CEF product have been distributed to our partners
- 432 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
De-escalation and Conflict Management Training – Coming March 13 – REGISTER TODAY!
We hear you. Our Hunger Relief Partners have communicated recent experiences with conflict between staff, volunteers, and neighbors – some have hired security and others have been forced to close to reevaluate their processes that may be causing the conflict. Food Bank of the Rockies is contracting with Pollack Peacebuilding Systems to develop and host training sessions that will be available to partners on March 13. A recording will be available on our online learning platform, NeoGov, at a later date.
The goal of this workshop will be to provide you with key learning and practice on some essential de-escalation skills that you can use in your roles with your organization’s, specifically in dealing with escalated situations and individuals.
In this workshop we will cover the following:
- Understanding the root of escalation
- In the moment self-regulation strategies
- Navigating the Escalation Spiral
- A 4-step de-escalation process
- And putting it all together in practice scenarios
If you are interested in joining this session, please register below. This will be an interactive workshop (not a webinar or lecture). Before you register, please make sure you are available to attend without distractions and with the necessary technology to participate with working video and audio, as registration will be limited to 100 participants meaning if you choose to register and secure your seat in this workshop, you may be taking the seat from someone else. Please ensure you are able to participate fully prior to signing up.
How to Register
If you are available to participate fully, you must register using the link below. Once you are registered you will receive a confirmation email that your spot is secure and how to access the workshop session.
A few days before the workshop session, those who register will receive the training material that you will need access to during the workshop session as well as information on how to prepare for the workshop.
If you have any questions, please contact Christina Gumbiner: email@example.com
A big thank-you to all partners who attended the TEFAP quarterly session on January 24. Topics included the TEFAP conference, client surveys, proxy forms, and the exciting announcement that we expect an influx of fresh produce over the next few months! Slides were sent out after the meeting. Our next session will take place at the TEFAP conference in Vail in April. We’ll see you there!
Please reach out to Vic Derington, TEFAP Manager, with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyday Eats Edition
Thank you to our partners who attended the Everyday Eats 2023 recap on January 9 and January 25. A copy of the slides can be found here. We invite you to review important updates about the Everyday Eats name change and important program reminders about agency receipts and program applications. We also would appreciate any input on how we can better support training needs, ideas for process improvement, and resources needed to best serve our communities.
Please reach out to Britni Stupin, Government Programs Manager, Everyday Eats, with any questions at email@example.com.
In tandem with our transportation department, the Food for Kids team currently delivers roughly 4,635 Totes of Hope™ and 8,560 CACFP meals each week around Colorado. Unexpected cancellations can create a mutual burden for both our Hunger Relief Partners and the many departments at Food Bank of the Rockies who work closely together and whose work directly impacts each other. For any cancellations or closures, we ideally need at least one week’s notice to minimize waste of food and staff time. We understand that sometimes things happen at the last minute, especially during the winter months when routes may be impacted by hazardous weather conditions.
If you anticipate inclement weather in your area, please email the Food for Kids email at FFK@foodbankrockies.org. We are happy to work to find an alternative to your standing delivery, which could be an early delivery or, if you are able, an arranged pick-up at our warehouse.
We want to ensure each child can embrace their childhood without worrying about food access and we recognize these efforts would be impossible without your help and partnership. Thank you for your continued support and communication regarding any schedule changes.
Join A Totes of Hope™ Town Hall
Please join one of three town hall meetings later this month or early March for our current Totes of Hope™ partners. These meetings will be a community space for our team to gather feedback, provide a refresher of Totes expectations and updates, and to answer questions. Totes of Hope™ is still one of the newest programs at Food Bank of the Rockies and lots of changes have been made over the years.
Below are the dates and times to choose from, please RSVP by Monday, 2/26 using this RSVP link for one of the following dates:
- Tuesday, February 27 – afternoon (2:00 p.m.)
- Thursday, February 29 – morning (10:00 a.m.)
- Wednesday, March 6 – evening (6:00 p.m.)
If you are not a current Totes of Hope™ partner and would like more information on becoming one, please contact FFK@foodbankrockies.org.
Max Chavez, Culturally Responsive Representative
Max Chavez recently joined Food Bank of the Rockies as a Culturally Responsive Representative. Max came to the Food Bank from a public health research role and is very excited to combine his passion for research and addressing basic needs in one role. Outside of work, Max enjoys fishing and exploring the nature Colorado has to offer.
Visit SAME Café
If you are serving neighbors in need of a ready-to-eat lunch meal, SAME Café invites you to refer neighbors to their participation-based restaurant:
SAME Café Denver
2023 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80206
Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
SAME Café is a donation- and- participation-based restaurant that serves a nutritious lunch to all, regardless of ability to pay. They receive donations of fresh produce from gardens in Denver and create a fresh menu for guests every day. They serve soup, salad, pizza, drinks, and cookies, with gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options. To partake in lunch, you can donate the amount of money you’re able to, donate a half-hour of time, or donate fresh produce from a food bank, pantry, or garden. SAME is a community without religious or political affiliation so that all can feel welcome. Tenemos recursos y un menú en español.
Across Colorado and Wyoming, Food Bank of the Rockies partners with dozens of local growers and producers. These relationships are beneficial on multiple levels. The Food Bank serves as a dependable buyer for smaller producers who otherwise might have difficulty branching into new crops or competing with larger growers. The products get into the hands of neighbors experiencing food insecurity who face barriers of access such as cost or location. The local economy gets a boost thanks to the steady stream of income received by growers.
These partnerships go beyond fruits and vegetables. Van Winkle Ranch joined the ranks of the Food Bank’s agricultural partners early in the pandemic, and they established a consistent arrangement in January 2021. The ranch has between 500 and 600 cows and sells directly to customers from its location in Western Colorado. It is also close to being able to ship beef to buyers across the country. But selling to Food Bank of the Rockies goes beyond just having another consistent customer.
“There are so many cool things about this partnership,” said Janie Van Winkle, a fourth-generation rancher. “Selling locally means the cows become a really important piece of our community, providing high-quality protein for people who need it. There’s also a huge economic piece: Every cow sold and processed in Mesa County puts $600–$800 back into the local economy every year.”
Almost three years into the partnership, Janie said she feels proud that her family can help their neighbors through their livelihood. “I’m a firm believer in people helping people and that sometimes life can get out of our control and people end up needing help,” she said. “This is an investment in our community on the Western Slope and in Colorado. It feels good to know we’re helping people.”
We are proud of what Van Winkle Ranch has accomplished, their dedication to supporting neighbors with much-needed protein, and the relationship they provide to Food Bank of the Rockies. The opportunity to visit them at the Ranch and see their operation in action was a highlight for us!