× Child smiling.

2X Match Deadline Extended

Hunger is on the rise across Colorado.

Now through April 30, your donation will be matched to make 2X the impact for our neighbors.

Help address the emergency level of need in our region while your gift = 2X the impact!

× Child smiling.

Hunger is on the rise across Colorado.

Now through midnight on April 30, your donation will be matched to make 2X the impact for our neighbors.

Help address the emergency level of need in our region while your gift = 2X the impact!

× Family at Food Pantry

Make 2X the Impact this Summer

URGENT REPORT: 1 in 9 Coloradans are experiencing food insecurity. Your donation today will help provide 2X the nourishment for our neighbors.

Make 2X the impact this summer for our Colorado neighbors >>

× Child smiling.

Live Here, Give Here.

Together, we can make a difference in our state.

Make your WyoGives Day gift before midnight and have it matched to support Food Bank of Wyoming.

Make your WyoGives Day gift now and have it matched to support Food Bank of Wyoming.

×

MATCH DEADLINE: August 31, 2024

Your gift today will help provide 2X as much nourishing food for our neighbors experiencing hunger.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to DOUBLE your impact this summer >>

DONATE:

July 2024 Western Slope Partner Newsletter

Group of volunteers holding produce in front of Food Bank of the Rockies truck.

Dear Hunger Relief Partners,  

As we dive into the warmth and buzz of July, we want to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the incredible work you all do, especially during the summer months. Summertime is a unique challenge — juggling kids, work, and endless activities is no small feat! Yet, amidst all the sun-soaked fun, there’s a serious task at hand: ensuring that no child goes hungry while school is out of session. 

Your dedication to providing summer programming is nothing short of heroic. Food insecurity continues to be a pressing issue in all our communities, and your tireless efforts are making a significant difference. We understand that navigating the complexities of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) can feel like jumping through a series of endless hoops. Compliance can be a beast, but you tackle it with grace and determination, ensuring every child has access to nutritious meals. 

We also want to extend sincere congratulations to those who have found creative workarounds that better fit your circumstances. Whether it’s adjusting staffing, rethinking logistics or coming up with innovative solutions to keep those meals coming, your ingenuity and adaptability are truly inspiring. You have proven that where there is a will, there is a way to feed kids. 

In our beautiful state of Colorado, particularly here on the Western Slope, summer offers a unique backdrop to our mission. As we enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and vibrant communities, let us also celebrate the extraordinary impact we are making together.  

Thank you for your unwavering commitment, your creativity, and your relentless pursuit of a summer without hunger for all children. Your efforts do not go unnoticed, and they are deeply appreciated. Here’s to a wonderful, joy-filled summer filled with laughter, sunshine, and — most importantly — nourished kids. 

Warmest regards, 

Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope Team 

 

Important Dates 

  • July 4 – Closed for Independence Day holiday

 

Coming Soon: Electronic Statements!  

If you do the ordering, you will have seen the latest status alert on Agency Express regarding the upcoming implementation of electronic invoices (below). Please be sure that you consistently receive our emails, newsletters, and important information updates. If you do not, then we might not have the most current contact information. To ensure prompt communication regarding financial statements once this format begins in mid-August, please reach out for assistance to Jill Davis at Jilldavis@foodbankrockies.org or Becky Richardson at brichardson@foodbankrockies.org 

Electronics Statement window

Advocacy/Policy Update 

Get Involved!  

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  

Farm Bill  

Feeding Colorado continues to engage with our congressional delegation to promote the network’s priorities in the farm bill. As committee chairs in the House and Senate release their farm bill frameworks, Feeding Colorado is working closely with national partners to flag concerns and opportunities for the Colorado delegation.  

Click this link for more information from Feeding America.  

State Session 

The Colorado 2024 State Session wrapped up in early May. See below for the summary of bills we were tracking. 

HB24-1407: The Community Food Assistance Provider Grant  

The governor signed into law the creation of the Community Food Assistance Provider Grant program, which combines the food pantry and food bank assistance programs. This will provide sustainable funding with an appropriation of $3 million for the 2024-2025 state fiscal year.  

HB24-1322: Medicaid Coverage Housing & Nutrition Services  

This bill compels the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Finance (HCPF) to complete a feasibility study on the use of Medicaid Section 1115 Waivers to pay for housing and nutrition supports. This accelerates the time in which HCPF must report its findings. Instead of reporting findings by January 1, 2026, HCPF must now report findings by December 1, 2024. 

The study must also identify what groups of Medicaid clients should be considered eligible for each set of these services or benefits. Lastly, it authorizes HCPF to pursue an 1115 waiver without additional legislative action, if they can do so in a budget-neutral manner.  

HB24-1416: Healthy Food Incentives Program  

This bill establishes the Healthy Food Incentives Program within the Department of Public Health and Environment, to be overseen by the Prevention Services Division. The program aims to collaborate with a statewide nonprofit organization experienced in supporting nutritious food incentives to offer incentives benefiting Colorado’s lower-income populations. These incentives are intended to enhance access to fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Colorado within lower-income communities. It allocates $500,000 for the 2024-25 state fiscal year.  

HB24-1311: Family Affordability Tax Credit  

HB24-1311 creates the Family Affordability Tax Credit. This means families with children under the age of five who receive the Child Tax Credit and the Family Affordability Tax Credit will receive $4,400 per child. And for the first time, families with children up to age 16 will receive $2,400 per child for single filers making under $15,000 or joint filers making under $25,000. Families making up to $85,000 (single filer) and $95,000 (joint filer) will also stand to benefit from the credit.  

Questions or concerns? Contact Mandy Nuku at mnuku@feedingcolorado.org  

Interested in learning more about bills in our network? We encourage you to check out Blueprint to End Hunger’s policy platform and link to current legislation being considered this session: https://www.endhungerco.org/policy-platform  

Feeding Colorado Presentations 

Would you like to have Feeding Colorado staff present to your agency or local coalition on our role, state priorities and how to get involved? If so, please reach out to Mandy Nuku at mnuku@feedingcolorado.org to schedule.  

 

Program Updates 

Quarterly Regional Partner Town Halls – Save the Date! 

Thank you to all Hunger Relief Partners who were able to join the Regional Town Hall meetings in April and May. We appreciated the open conversation and updates from our partners.  

Our next sessions (all virtual) are scheduled for July and August as follows: 

  • Mountain – August 14, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
  • Western Slope – August 21, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. 

Emails and calendar invites will be sent to partners in each region. Please contact Christina Gumbiner at cgumbiner@foodbankrockies.org if you do not receive the information by the week before. We hope you’ll join us! 

Bi-Annual Partner Agreement 

Every other year, we ask our Hunger Relief Partners to re-sign our updated Partner Agreement. This agreement defines the services Food Bank of the Rockies provides to our partners and outlines the responsibilities of both Food Bank of the Rockies and you, our Hunger Relief Partners. We sent out a communication regarding re-signing this agreement at the end of May. If you haven’t yet signed the agreement, please reach out to Jill Davis at jilldavis@foodbankrockies.org.  

Annual NeoGov Food Safety and Civil Rights Trainings 

Every year, we require one person per agency to take two online training courses through NeoGov: Food Safety Training and Civil Rights Training. Each course takes about 30 minutes to complete at your own pace, and you’ll receive a certificate when completed. You can sign back in at any time to review material. You can use your login credentials from previous years, or you can reach out to Jill Davis at jilldavis@foodbankrockies.org to create a new account or to help reset your password. You will receive further communication about this requirement in the coming months. 

 

Government Programs 

Everyday Eats Update 

Thank you to all our partners who participated in our recent Everyday Eats sessions focusing on caseload management and waitlist procedures. This is a big shift from a long period of unprecedented growth, a huge testament to the work you are doing with our older adult neighbors. A recording of the training and the slides are available here. Please send any questions directly to bstupin@foodbankrockies.org 

 

Food for Kids Update 

SAVE A TREE – Use Link2Feed! 

Thank you for using Link2Feed! Please remember to enter your counts for meals and/or Totes of Hope™. This is important in getting meals reimbursed (CACFP/SFSP) and ensuring we are meeting all sites’ needs.  

  • CACFP/SFSP sites: Please enter your counts each day of distribution. We know that sometimes attention to kids’ needs may prevent you from entering promptly. If necessary, by the next morning is also acceptable.
  • Totes of Hope™ sites: Please enter your weekly distribution numbers each Monday for the totes distributed the prior weekend. 

If you or anyone on your team needs training with Link2Feed or has questions, please reach out to FFK@foodbankrockies.org 

Totes of Hope™ – Summer and School Year 2024 

For current Totes of Hope™ sites wishing to distribute over the summer, we ask that you sign up/reapply using this form and return it right away. The original deadline was May 1 — we are offering an extension. 

For Totes of Hope™ participation in the 2024-2025 school year, we are asking sites to fill out a new application for the fall! The application was sent out to all current sites and is due by June 15. If you did not receive the application, please contact the Food for Kids team: FFK@foodbankrockies.org  

 

Culturally Responsive Food Initiative Update 

Holiday Reminders 

A reminder of upcoming holidays that your neighbors may be observing: 

July 

Ashura: July 16-17 (This holiday occurs annually on the tenth day of the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is usually celebrated through large demonstrations of high-scale mourning and fasting.) 

Holiday Food Across Cultures (Calendar)  

For Food bank of the Rockies’ Food lists, click here: Food Preference by Culture  

(*This is only a supplemental reference, not the complete list of holidays.) 

If you have any questions about these holiday celebrations or the food lists, please contact the Culturally Responsive Food Initiative team: CRFI@foodbankrockies.org  

 

Food Rescue

Food Donations 

The Food Rescue Team is actively working to secure more food donations. Through the first four months of 2024, food donations are up 2%. The team is engaging all current Food Rescue Partners to maximize existing donation streams. Part of stewarding existing donors includes rolling out a new donor recognition program. The Food Rescue Team is also actively seeking out and soliciting new donors. This effort will include a mass mailing to food donor prospects in the month of July.  

Do you know of food companies that would be good for us to build a donor relationship with? Better yet, do you know someone at those food companies we could engage with? Please let us know by emailing foodrescue@foodbankrockie.org. 

 

Partner Highlight

Service animal sitting. Service animal laying on bed.

The Center for Children, Grand Junction  

This month, we are thrilled to shine a light on The Center for Children in Grand Junction, one of our remarkable Hunger Relief Partners in Mesa County. The Center for Children is a beacon of hope, offering healing and justice for children who are victims of violence and sexual abuse. Their mission is profound and their dedication is unwavering, striving to make the community safer through prevention, education, and advocacy. With core values of compassion, integrity, and mutual respect, they truly exemplify the spirit of service. 

Service animal laying on bed.Among their diverse support programs, one unique member stands out — Rachel, the facility dog. Rachel, a five-year-old black Labrador retriever, plays a heartwarming and crucial role in comforting children and families during their most challenging times. Trained by Canine Companions, Rachel is a gentle presence during forensic interviews, medical exams, therapy sessions, and court proceedings. Over the past three years, Rachel has assisted in 505 child visits, spent 142 hours in court, and participated in 216 hours of forensic interviews. 

Rachel’s handler, Ashley Edstrom, speaks fondly of the dog’s ability to provide a calming presence. Rachel’s non-judgmental and soothing nature helps children relax and open up during difficult conversations, making the entire process less traumatic. She is especially adept at reading situations and offering comfort, whether resting her head on a child’s lap or staying quietly in the witness box for hours. 

The Center for Children’s commitment to supporting families in crisis is inspiring, and we are incredibly grateful for their partnership. It takes a diverse array of organizations to support our communities, and partners like The Center for Children, with their innovative approaches and compassionate care, are invaluable. 

Thank you, Center for Children, for your dedication and for making a profound difference in the lives of so many. And a special thank you to Rachel, for being a true hero with a wagging tail. 

For more information about The Center for Children, or to support their mission, visit The Center for Children https://www.centerforchildrengj.org/. 

 

 

Staff Highlight

Chris Coombs headshotChristopher Coombs, Warehouse Dock Lead  

Meet Christopher Coombs, our Warehouse Dock Lead at Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope! Chris, who grew up in Arvada, made the move to Grand Junction in 2011 and has called it home ever since. After a 27-year career at Target, he retired but soon realized he wanted to contribute more to his community. Lucky for us, he joined our team! 

Chris brings valuable stability to his role, driven by a passion for helping others. Chris receives all our deliveries and keeps the many moving parts, both coming and going, organized. When he’s not ensuring our operations run smoothly, he’s diving into his unique hobbies. As a proud collector of comics and action figures (think G.I. Joe, X-Men, and Star Wars), Chris’s home surely must be a mini-museum of pop culture treasures. 

An avid reader and dedicated Comic Con attendee, Chris’s interests don’t stop there. He’s also a globe-trotter, having explored 33 countries! His favorite destinations? Turkey, Germany, and England. And the adventure continues! This October, he’s off to Greece for a three-week escapade, followed by a trip to Peru in April/May. We can’t wait to hear about his travels! 

When it comes to food, Chris has a soft spot for Chick-fil-A. He’s been happily married for 18 years, and together, they’ve created a life filled with love, laughter, and exploration. 

Chris’s dedication makes him an invaluable part of our team. Next time you see him, ask about his latest comic book find or travel adventure! 

 

Neighbor Resources 

Enjoy Summer with Additional EBT Card Benefits 

Did you know that all individuals enrolled in SNAP are also eligible to receive additional benefits like discounted access to museums and Colorado state parks? To learn more, take a look at the information below: 

  • $1 admission for up to 10 people to the Children’s Museum, the Denver Zoo, and the Butterfly Pavilion (more information here) 
  • Discounted pass to Colorado state parks  

Share:

Already registered? Sign in

Enjoying this post? Subscribe for more great content.