× 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!


June 2023 Partner Newsletter—Western Slope

Strengthening our Partnerships

Palisade volunteers

Dear Hunger Relief Partners,

For me, partnership is a relationship based on mutual respect, common vision, and a shared commitment that results in positive change. During my first few months here at Food Bank of the Rockies, I have seen firsthand our reliance on strong partnerships to achieve our mission of nourishing our neighbors facing hunger. We remain dedicated to strengthening our partnerships through mutual support, which recognizes the unique skills, resources, and knowledge that each of you bring to further our vision. During a recent partner survey, we heard from many of you about ways we can improve and are excited to take our partnerships to the next level. Over the coming months and year, we will strive to deepen our joint impact, improve the quality of our partnerships, and further live out our values of service and collaboration through:

  • Enhanced communication to ensure partners are provided with the support they need to be successful, including knowing where to go to receive clear and timely responses.
  • A high level of customer service that exemplifies our values.
  • A deeper understanding of community and partner needs, as well as potential solutions.

While the road ahead has many challenges, we are looking forward to our continued engagement to grow our partnerships.

To leave you with one of my favorite proverbs, thought to originate from Burkina Faso in Africa, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” We want to go far with each of you and commit to the long-term journey of real, sustainable change.

Warm regards,

Terrill Kucera, Director of Programs

Important Dates

June is the close of our Fiscal Year 2023. Please be prepared to plan ahead and work closely with us to ensure that we all do not miss a beat! We will be reaching out to those of you whom these dates will affect. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Jill Heidel at jheidal@foodbankrockies.org with questions.


  • June 26 – CLOSED for year-end inventory (deliveries will continue)
  • June 27 – CLOSED for year-end inventory (deliveries will continue)
  • June 28 – CLOSED for year-end inventory (deliveries will continue)
  • June 30 – Pickups and Fresh Food Center open until 11:00 a.m.

Advocacy/Policy Update

End of the State Legislative Session

The Colorado legislative session ended on May 6. Feeding Colorado will provide a recap of the bills we’ve been tracking and how they’ve progressed this session next month. Stay tuned for our final session update, coming soon!

Farm Bill Watch

The Farm Bill is due to be reauthorized later this year. 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 will be in Washington, D.C., this month to discuss Farm Bill priorities with the Colorado and Wyoming delegations.

NEW Feeding America Tool

Did you know that Feeding America recently released a tool that displays how food banks and federal nutrition programs work together to keep households nourished? Click here to explore how many meals the federal nutrition programs and the charitable food system serve to communities in Colorado and across the country.

TEFAP Fact Sheet

TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) is a federal nutrition program that moves food from farms to food banks to individuals and families facing hunger. TEFAP is a cornerstone of the Feeding America network’s food supply. The program provides over 20% of the food distributed through Feeding America food banks and local hunger-relief programs! Click here to download a fact sheet about TEFAP that is useful for educating yourself, your volunteers, and your community about this great program.

Get Involved!

Are you interested in sharing why you care about fighting hunger with members of the Colorado legislature? Email Sarah Gregory at Feeding Colorado (sgregory@feedingcolorado.org) to learn more about opportunities to testify on legislation related to hunger in the 2023 legislative session.

Operation Updates

Warehouse Words of Wisdom

Keep Your Toes Covered, Please!

Reminder: For safety reasons, NO open-toed shoes are allowed in or around the Fresh Food Center. We know that sandals are nice to wear during Colorado’s warm months, so we recommend keeping an extra pair of closed-toed shoes in your car. Please share this important message with your volunteers or staff who frequent the Food Bank for order pickups or to visit the Fresh Food Center. Partner representatives visiting without proper footwear will be asked to make a new appointment and return with approved shoes.

From Denver Public Health and Environment: 4 Best Practices to Save Food in Pantry Operations

  1. Offer clients a choice model (if feasible given space/staffing)
  2. Educate on date labels.
  3. Follow food safety guidelines.
  4. Ask for and follow through on client feedback.

For details on these steps and relevant flyers in English and Spanish, please see the DPHE website!

Food for Kids Update

Over 22 million children depend on their school’s breakfast and lunch program for regular meals and yet less than 3 million children participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). We need your help to close this gap.

We continue to accept applications for our Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Help us get free meals to kids over the summer who will be missing out on school lunches and other regular nutrition programs available during the school year. Please also help spread the word to other organizations who support children’s programming. You can access the fillable PDF application in our Partner Portal under Partner Forms & Documents in the Food for Kids dropdown menu. The application can be downloaded and saved to your computer to type your answers directly into the form.

If your organization hasn’t participated in SFSP before and is interested in learning more about the program, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Any questions regarding qualifications or the application process can be directed to our Food for Kids email at jilldavis@foodbankrockies.org.

Link2Feed Updates

We will be hosting Link2Feed trainings on June 6 at 2:00 p.m. and June 23 at 9:00 a.m. Please click here or email L2F@foodbankrockies.org to sign up for these sessions. If these dates do not work for you, please send us an email and we will do our best to accommodate.

This training signup is for existing Link2Feed partners in Colorado and covers basic client intake and recording services for food pantry, CSFP, TEFAP, or mobile pantry sites. This training is intended for new users at existing Link2Feed sites or as a refresher course for existing users.

We’d like to inform you of an important update planned for June 1, 2023. At the direction of the Department of Human Services, the phone number question will change from optional to required. In the event that a client may not have a phone number, a new “No Phone Number” checkbox will be added in Link2Feed (we will follow up when that goes live). Here is a link to a document fully explaining the change. You may also receive additional messages about this change from other Food Bank of the Rockies/Food Bank of Wyoming departments and teams that you work closely with.

Staff Highlight

headshot of Kathy Swisher

Kathey Swisher – Dehydration Operations Lead

An exciting and recent addition to our facility is team member Kathey Swisher, Dehydration Operations Lead. Kathey will work directly with Volunteer Operations Supervisor Steve Serve to lead our volunteers in facilitating our new dehydration program. Kathey comes to us with decades of experience and an interesting story behind these years of expertise. This is Kathey’s story:

Dehydration has been a passion of mine for 23 years. I have successfully dehydrated vegetables, fruits, berries, herbs, flowers, mushrooms, beef, poultry, fish, and game meats. I inherited my parents’ mini farm. As I learned and understood the land and the property, an idea came to me to put in the addition of an extra-large garden to grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, etc. My sister mailed me an heirloom seed catalog, from which I made a very large order. I was so blessed with the ability to grow beautiful healthy plants, and with nearly every seed coming to fruition, I had a huge amount of produce to reckon with! I did some research into dehydrating equipment and was able to purchase several large-capacity household units. I have spent years learning and perfecting each individual food’s unique processes. The art of dehydrating is so satisfying, knowing you can preserve such a wide variety of foods for future use throughout each season. I am so proud to be a part of the team at Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope.

Partner Highlight

Five Loaves and Two Fishes Food Pantry

This month we are proud to highlight one of our new Hunger Relief Partners, Fruita’s Monument View Bible Church’s Five Loaves and Two Fishes Food Pantry. The vision for this pantry came from Pastor Matt Gillilan. When Matt lost numerous dear loved ones during the pandemic, he realized how many people were hurting and in need due to the ravages of COVID-19. The church elders supported his vision of helping those people, and then the work began.

Matt traveled to many pantries in the Grand Valley to learn from other Food Bank of the Rockies Partners on how best to run a monthly pantry. Thanks to many of you, with all this support he was able to open a small operation out of a classroom, starting in October 2022. Their client choice model took off quickly, starting at 45 to now serving 136 households, as well as supporting 60 EverGreen Boxes™, a Program of Everyday Eats, every month.

The pantry has overflowed from one classroom into three, all available to shop with real shopping carts. Through the distribution of 56,518 pounds of food, year to date, they have gained overwhelming support from both volunteers and businesses in Fruita. The ability to have 40 consistent, returning volunteers on distribution day each month has blossomed personal relationships with the neighbors in this community. Connections with businesses and donors have supported numerous other opportunities and sparked their growth trajectory.

Food Bank of the Rockies was proud to offer both a reach-in cooler and freezer to support this pantry’s service to their neighbors. Thank you to this team for being a partner in our collective goal to end hunger in our communities.

Neighbor Resources

Changes to Medicaid Enrollment

May 11, 2023, was the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE), which was declared in January 2020 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Congress passed legislation that ensured anyone enrolled in Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) was guaranteed to keep their health coverage during the PHE. This is known as the “continuous coverage requirement” and also applies to kids and pregnant people covered by Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). Congress recently passed a bill that ends the continuous coverage requirement in spring 2023.

Help your neighbors understand what steps they need to take in order to keep their Medicaid coverage. A tool kit of materials and information is available here: https://hcpf.colorado.gov/covid-19-phe-planning


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