New Year Thinking
I like to use January to reflect on progress made in the prior year and dreams for the new year. 2023 seems especially important to me, as we are far enough away from the depths of the COVID-19 crisis to be setting a direction that builds on the “new normal.”
Looking back, we have weathered a very challenging time through working together, being creative, and persisting in the face of great difficulties. Looking forward, our neighbors continue to be confronted with economic and health challenges that require our assistance and continued commitment. Inflationary impact on prices, supply chain disruptions and shortages of available products (anyone seen eggs at the grocery store lately?), and escalating housing prices are challenging all of us and driving up demand at our partner locations.
The team at Food Bank of the Rockies is doubling down on finding donated food and making it available to you. We have added staff to the Grocery Rescue team to increase store visits and data mining to understand where there might be additional opportunities to capture donated food. The rest of the sourcing team is working to locate and source produce and other nutritious products that will round out your product mix.
This week we met with a group from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and talked about the supply challenges in our available USDA foods. We continue to have a high cancellation rate in planned shipments that negatively impacts what we can share with you. The USDA team is hopeful that the new national $1 billion spending on food purchases will increase the amount of food in the Colorado charitable food system. Our first orders using these new funds are planned for January 2023.
Thank you for the great work that you do each day to care for our neighbors. We look forward to facing the challenges of the coming year together.
Chief Operating Officer, Food Bank of the Rockies
- February 7 – Orientation at 10:00 a.m.
- February 11 – Saturday Distribution at 9:00 a.m.
- February 17 – Orientation at 1:00 p.m.
- February 28 – Early Closure; Fresh Food Center until 11:10 a.m., last order pickup at 12:00 p.m.
Colorado General Assembly Session Begins
The 74th Colorado General Assembly convenes on January 9, 2023. Feeding Colorado will be monitoring bills closely throughout the legislative session and engaging with coalitions and legislators to promote solutions to food insecurity across Colorado. Find your state legislators here.
Advocate for TEFAP!
Last year, about 85% of the 200 food banks in Feeding America’s network reported increased or sustained demand for food assistance compared to the previous month. While food banks hustle to serve the growing number of families in need, skyrocketing prices are limiting their ability to meet elevated demand.
Food banks are paying about 40% more to purchase the same amount of food compared to 2021. Outside of food costs, food banks are also paying more for the cost of transporting the food, including fuel and vehicle maintenance. Simultaneously, 55% of Feeding America food banks have recently reported that food donations are down. Federal support is needed to make sure food banks can continue serving our communities.
Groceries are too expensive for many people, and more and more families are turning to food banks. Write to Congress and say: Invest in The Emergency Food Assistance Program so food banks can keep their shelves stocked and continue to help every person who comes to their doors.
Click here to write to Congress to support TEFAP!
Feeding Colorado Resources
Food Bank of the Rockies coordinates all public policy and advocacy work through our state association, Feeding Colorado. Check out their website, feedingcolorado.org, to keep up with policy updates, learn more about Feeding Colorado, and see how you can get involved in their work. You can also follow them on Twitter (@feedingcolorado) for timely updates on public policy. For questions about their advocacy and public policy work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAVE THE DATE: Regional Partner Town Hall – 45th Ave/Denver Distribution Center Partners only
We will be conducting two virtual Partner Town Hall meetings on January 18. One will be for Denver Metro Partners (Denver, Arapahoe, Adams, Jefferson, and Douglas counties) and the other for our Eastern Plains Partners. More regions to be announced later.
During these sessions, we will:
- Review results from the 2022 Partner Satisfaction Survey
- Discuss what is working well with Food Bank of the Rockies’ partnership and areas that are still in need of strengthening
- Seek feedback from partners about future needs and their vision for continuing to meet the need for food in our communities
- Have lively discussions regarding our continued collaborative efforts to best support our neighbors
Sessions will be recorded and shared.
Please join us on Zoom during the time that fits your program’s location:
Eastern Plains Rural Partner Town Hall: January 18, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
- Join via Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89769469131?pwd=amtNYkxBYVVzb1YrRDJDbnZLZmFldz09
- Meeting ID: 897 6946 9131
- Passcode: 336965
Denver Metro Partner Town Hall: January 18, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- Join via Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84357754296pwd=S01ZaCtNa2NOUm5yaThuUmxiZGlJQT09
- Meeting ID: 843 5775 4296
- Passcode: 665594
Are You On the List?
Our Find Food resource listing has information about many of the Hunger Relief Partners who support our neighbors seeking food assistance. The page allows neighbors and organizations making a referral to search a geographical area (by address, city, or Zip Code) for pantries, mobile pantries, TEFAP, EverGreen Boxes™, a program of Everyday Eats, and meal programs along with location, hours, contact information, and eligibility. Please do a search and see if you are listed on this resource. Is the information for your organization listed correctly? Don’t see your program and you would like to? To make updates or to be added, please fill out the partner website referral document and return it to email@example.com.
Don’t Forget These Inclement Weather Closures
As we move into the winter season, please be aware that Food Bank of the Rockies may make closure determinations. Closure information will be posted on our website, sent by text, posted on our Hunger Relief Partner Facebook Page, and our phone messaging system. Please refer to the following guidelines for pick-ups and deliveries:
For Scheduled Pick-Ups: Day of Closure
- Partner Support will contact all partners with a scheduled pick-up on the closure day
- Partners will have three (3) business days from the original pick-up date to reschedule or products will be restocked
- Emails and texts will be sent to all partners with a pick-up on the day of closure if they are unable to be reached by phone
For Scheduled Deliveries: Day of Closure
- Partner Support to contact partners about a canceled delivery
- Delivery will be rescheduled as soon as weather permits and per the schedule as communicated by Transportation Manager
- Partner Support will communicate reschedules to affected partners
Please also ensure that any necessary accommodations have been made for all volunteers and clients to remain safe and warm while attending a distribution. If you have any questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Link2Feed Staff Update and Trainings Are Back!
Please welcome our newest Community Insights team member, Kirk Granum! Kirk works out of our Grand Junction Distribution Center and supports Link2Feed implementation and training for our Western Slope partners.
Are you a pantry that already uses Link2Feed and have pantry volunteers or staff in need of Link2Feed training? Community Insights is resuming Link2Feed trainings! View available dates and sign up for a training at foodbankrockies.org/partner-portal/link2feed. There, you can also find helpful resources and step-by-step guides for commonly asked Link2Feed questions.
For partner agencies interested in using Link2Feed and for general Link2Feed support for existing partners, reach out to L2F@foodbankrockies.org.
NEW PROGRAM STAFFING ANNOUNCEMENTS
SNAP Outreach Representative
Please welcome Yolanda Ochoa, who has joined Food Bank of the Rockies’ SNAP Outreach Team and will be helping conduct outreach and application assistance. You’ll see Yolanda at our mobile pantries and special community events.
Partner Support Representative – Order Window
Please welcome Dana Grant as the new face in the Partner Order Window. Dana has been with Food Bank of the Rockies a little over a year and was previously working as our Dock Specialist.
Government Inventory Lead
Virginia Childs recently transitioned from Partner Support to our Government Programs Team as the new Government Inventory Lead (previously held by Vic Derington). Virginia has been with Food Bank of the Rockies for a little over a year.
Government Programs Managers
To best support our partners, we now have a manager over each of our Government Programs: Britni Stupin is the Government Programs EverGreen Box™ Manager and Vic Derington is the Government Programs TEFAP Manager.
We will strive to keep staffing information up to date as changes occur. Please refer to our list of contacts.
Cultural Holiday Calendar
For many of us, holidays are special because we get to spend time with our families and enjoy memorable meals. Now imagine being in a new place where you want to celebrate a favorite holiday, but no one else is familiar with it and you aren’t able to access the right ingredients. That’s how many people in our communities feel throughout the year. For this reason, the Culturally Responsive team has put together a calendar of cultural holidays celebrated by the people we serve. We can support our neighbors by learning about the holidays and traditions that are meaningful to them in order to better respond to what their needs may be during those special times. We have also created this survey that will help us better understand what support you need in assisting your community.
What do kiwi, butternut squash, and pears have in common? They pack the most flavor, color, and nutrients during the winter! Encourage the neighbors you serve to embrace these produce superstars of the season with recipes for Winter Fruit Salad, Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese, or Apple and Pear Crisp. Keep an eye on our growing recipe library for more easy, seasonal, and shareable recipes throughout the year.
Regis University Addresses Student Hunger
Hunger and food insecurity are realities everywhere, even on college campuses. Regis offers a student food pantry on the Northwest Denver Campus called The Cupboard. Initially funded by a grant from The Denver Post Community Foundation, The Cupboard provides free meals and snacks for students and their families facing food insecurity to address an issue that is often ignored – college hunger.
Together with Military and Veteran Services, The Cupboard partners with other university departments, faculty, staff, students, and the larger community to tap into a shared passion for helping people and raising awareness about reducing hunger, food insecurity, and food waste.
The university recently added a Food Bank of the Rockies Mobile Pantry to its toolbox to help fight hunger in its community. The mobile pantry takes place every first Tuesday of the month at 9:00 a.m. in the parking lot near 33rd and Federal. The mobile pantry serves about 80 families. Site coordinator Jenna Farley said they are excited to see the mobile pantry grow to reach more of the community.
With the collaboration of Jenna Farley and Fletcher Brown, expanding the on-campus food pantry began with an idea after a Food Bank of the Rockies Mobile Pantry distribution and has since gained traction. Through a generous partner donation, Food Bank of the Rockies was able to transfer an industrial refrigerator to further support the cause.
The university hopes an expansion and reimagined approach to providing food to students facing hunger will eliminate the stigma attached to asking for help. “It will be more than a food pantry,” Fletcher Brown said of the new location. “It will be a place to nourish the community.”
USDA/FNS Non-Citizens Resource Page
Recently shared in an issue of the Government Relations Newsletter was information about a new website from the USDA/FNS that is dedicated to programs that non-citizens are eligible for. Please share with neighbors or other program participants if they are wary of applying for SNAP due to their status.
Open Position Spotlight
If a career helping others appeals to you, join us! We welcome passionate people with a wide variety of skill sets, from drivers and warehouse personnel, to administrative and logistics experts and so much more.
Culturally Responsive/SNAP Representative – Spanish Bilingual (Grand Junction Distribution Center)
The SNAP and CRFI Outreach Representative will be responsible for educating and reaching out to eligible populations about SNAP as well as promoting the Culturally Responsive Food Initiative (CRFI) to increase participation and inclusion in targeted counties within the Western Slope region of Food Bank of the Rockies’ service area. This role will screen clients for SNAP eligibility and help them with the application process using the state’s online application tool, PEAK. In addition, the SNAP/CRFI Outreach Representative will develop partnerships and infrastructure to conduct outreach and application assistance.
Partner Support Representative
The Partner Support Representative is a primary point of contact for many of you, our important Hunger Relief Partners. This internal position on our programs team is responsible for supporting our Hunger Relief Partners through daily operations including training, placing orders, conducting partner reviews, and overseeing general program compliance. This role actively engages with all existing partners to review, update, and maintain program files and documentation.
To learn more about job openings on our team or to apply, visit https://www.foodbankrockies.org/about/join-our-team/
We are an equal opportunity employer and offer a caring work environment with paid time off, health, dental, and 401K benefits.