Produce, Produce, Produce! Learn about the FRESH Program
Greetings, and happy summer!
The season has begun for our beautiful state to offer up its bountiful harvests. With these opportunities soon upon us, we wanted to be sure you knew the details on Food Bank of the Rockies’ FRESH Program.
Here is everything you need to know to start receiving regular shipments of produce without having to order it in Partner Express. FRESH pallets can be set up on an auto-recurring basis so that, with your normal order, your agency receives one or more pallet of mixed, fresh produce. Please note that this option will be for partners that have the capacity to accept full and half pallets only. Otherwise, your best bet is to order through Agency Express. Please click on this link to find more facts on our FRESH Program.
State Legislative Session Wrap-Up
Feeding Colorado was pleased to see the Colorado State Legislative session end well this year! Here are our policy highlights from this session:
- HB23-1158 – PASSED
- The bill creates the Colorado Commodity Supplemental Food Grant Program to provide grants to county departments of human services or food banks that have a contract with the state for purchasing supplemental food and distributing food packages to low-income older adults. The bill requires the General Assembly to appropriate $1 million from the General Fund to the Department of Human Services (CDHS) for the program in FY 2023-24 only and allows unspent funds to be used for the same purpose in FY 2024-25. CDHS will administer and establish rules for the program’s implementation.
- HB23-1006 – PASSED
- This bill requires employers to make income tax credit opportunities like EITC and CTC aware to employees.
- SB23-159 – PASSED
- This bill renews the Colorado Food System and Agriculture Committee and extends the sunset review to 2026.
- SB23-119 Department of Human Services Supplemental
- Allocated $14 million to the Department of Human Services to issue to food banks and food pantries.
Nonprofit Infrastructure Grant Program
The Nonprofit Infrastructure Grant Program is administered by DOLA through eight Regional Access Partners (RAP). View the website for the RAP that serves your region of interest. Thanks to many community foundations in our state for stepping into this role.
As of May 1, the Nonprofit Infrastructure Grant Program began communicating and providing technical assistance to nonprofits through RAPs and stakeholders. Applications will open on July 5 and close August 31.
Organizations can request up to 30% of their budget up to a maximum request of $100,000.
(If working with a fiscal sponsor or agent, this 30% limit applies to the budget of the group applying, not the budget of the fiscal sponsor/agent.)
Eligible Use of Grant Funds:
- Data Technology needs – data collection and technical infrastructure
- Professional development – staff and board
- Strategic planning and organization development for capacity building, fundraising, and other services
- Existing program expansion, development, or evaluation
- Up to 10% of requests may cover administrative fees
Ineligible Use of Grant Funds
- Capital improvements (IT Infrastructure is not considered a capital improvement)
- Real estate or land acquisition
- Payment of debt
- Advocacy or lobbying
- Endowments or reserves
Background: These are American Rescue Plan Act funds that were carved out of the state legislature to provide “grants to small community-based nonprofit organizations for infrastructure funding to help mitigate the financial hardships of the COVID-19 public health emergency.”
Online Training Log In – You’ll Need It Soon!
Next month we’ll be announcing the annual certification requirements for Food Safety and Civil Rights courses. Are you ready? Do you have an active NeoGov.com account? Do you remember your password? Don’t fall behind on the due date for these important courses — if you don’t have your username (usually your email) and password handy, please contact Partner Support today: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a reminder, these courses are required for all of our program partners to complete annually. The information ensures you are providing food to neighbors in need in a safe and equitable environment.
Culturally Responsive Food Update: Supporting Newly Arrived Neighbors from Our Southern Border
Several of our partners are supporting newly arrived neighbors from the southern border who are integrating into our area. We would like to hear from you if you are struggling to meet the increased need in terms of the quantity and types of foods you have available so we can support you. Please send your feedback to email@example.com.
Updated Food Preference List Available
An updated version of our Food Preference Suggestions by Culture list has been added to the Partner Resource and Culturally Responsive Food Initiative pages of our website. This resource document includes Afghan, Eastern Shoshone, Ethiopian, Northern Arapaho, Russian, Somali, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and a newly expanded Latin American list that includes focused lists for Colombian, Cuban, Mexican, and Venezuelan food preferences. The food lists include information about preferred staples, foods to avoid, and cultural holidays that have important food items. Our hope is that these lists can be used to create a community where diverse food preferences and customs of individuals are accepted and honored. These lists can be used as a starting point to bring dignity to the food pantry experience for all.
Do you have additional suggestions? We would love to hear from you. We will continue to collect feedback and update this list. If you have additional feedback about these lists, please reach out to CRFI@foodbankrockies.org.
New SNAP Support Line Available
A new SNAP support line is now available directly on Colorado Department of Human Service’s (CDHS) website cdhs.colorado.gov/snap or by calling 800-816-4451 (toll-free) Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., providing an update to current cases only. SNAP recipients or applicants can now receive real-time information about their benefits and case status and receive general SNAP updates.
For people needing to apply for the first time, application assistance is available through Food Bank of the Rockies by calling 303-375-5851, or you can set up an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nutrition Update: New Cooking Videos Available
Fresh, easy, kid-friendly snacks are always on the menu during summertime! Watch our one-minute videos to make Berry Frozen Yogurt Bark and Sweet Apple Nachos with six ingredients or less. While you’re there, check out our full Cooking Demos playlist on YouTube.
Email Jonelle, our staff registered dietitian, at email@example.com for printable recipe cards with QR codes to the videos (English/Spanish). We welcome recipe ideas.
Western Slope Food for Kids Shout-Out!
Shout out to Lift Up in Rifle and the cool gig they have going on during the summer, as well as during the school year. In partnership with Garfield County Re-2 school district, they utilize the Meal Monkey truck on Fridays to meet children 18 and under who need a nutritious lunch. Samantha and the team currently visit four local parks in the area and offer both shelf-stable and fresh meal options, and they are always greeted with appreciation and smiling faces when they arrive! We are so happy to continue the ongoing partnership with Lift Up to feed kids in our community!
Partner Highlight – Shepherds Hand
This month, we are proud to highlight our partnership with Shepherds Hand. Shepherds Hand has been in operation since 2011 in the town of Montrose, Colorado. Garey and Aneta Martinez and their team, while working closely with their city to support the underserved population, have grown this program exponentially since its beginning.
Starting in November 2020, they secured a location that was previously a funeral home and have since breathed life into and re-imagined what this space can be for their community. Moving in early March 2021, this location now houses a myriad of opportunities to assist their neighbors. They added onto this facility originally built in 1928 to include showers, counseling rooms, and a commercial kitchen space. They also installed a new roof. The creative thought process of this team is evident in how they successfully navigated the remodel without missing a beat in their services. Shepherds Hand offers breakfast and lunch five days a week and was able to keep this going during the rebuild, with the use of their fully certified food truck. The food truck was the first of its kind in this area to cater to the unhoused population during COVID, providing “easy to eat” (handheld, all-contained items) meals since the spring of 2020. Garey’s desire to provide this service led him to find a couple selling a food truck and, through his relationship skills, walked away with the food truck being donated, and many people being served for years to come.
Along with two meals a day, counseling services, showers, and a food pantry, neighbors are also offered the opportunity to have their clothes washed, hair cut, choose items from a clothing pantry, and receive “weekend blessings,” which is sustenance to take that will last over the weekend while the site is closed. Shepherds Hand offers a permanent address by way of private lockers where folks can receive mail. During the cold winter months, men in the community can get a hot meal and a warm bed, as Shepherds Hand supports overnight lodging for them through a partnership with the Lighthouse Program.
Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope looks forward to their weekly visits and deeply respects all that they do to nourish our communities.
Dean Madrid: SNAP and Culturally Responsive Food Initiative Representative
Dean Madrid wears a few hats on our Western Slope Programs Team. Many days you will find Dean on location at one of our many mobile pantries. During his time at these sites, he engages neighbors one-on-one, greeting them in both English and Spanish and educating folks about SNAP resources. He gives them an overview of the program, answers questions, and offers the opportunity to assist them step-by-step with the application process. Many have reached out, grateful for assistance with this challenging process and have since been successfully accepted into the program.
Dean is also our Culturally Responsive Food Initiative (CRFI) Representative. Most recently, he has facilitated food preference surveys at our mobile pantry sites. By gathering this information, he is helping to craft the specific food preferences within individual communities and, by doing so, helps us to better respect and serve those neighbors.
As our Hunger Relief Partners, we would like you to consider the opportunity for Dean to come to one of your distributions to educate your neighbors regarding SNAP requirements and assist them through the process of applying for SNAP benefits. He will also be a great person to connect you to the CRFI Team to offer ideas and resources to fine-tune items specific to your community.