Dear Hunger Relief Partners,
I am so grateful to be working with each of you, our valued Hunger Relief Partners. I have seen many changes in the 27 years of working with you. One of the biggest changes that I have seen is the amount of fresh produce our partners are able to give to clients.
So far in 2022, we have procured so many varieties of fresh produce, including cabbage, apples, beets, radishes, rutabagas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, pears, oranges, tomatoes, carrots, sweet corn, bell peppers, zucchini, cantaloupe, acorn squash, butternut squash, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, watermelon, celery, turnips, honeydew melon, pineapple, broccoli, mangoes, grapes, cucumbers, asparagus, and plums.
As we approach the summer months, providing safe and nutritious food is a top priority for all of us.
To properly handle perishable and frozen food items, please refer to the following guidelines:
- Refrigerators must be kept between 32–40°F
- Freezer temperatures must be at 0°F or below
- Dry temperatures must be at 50–70°F
- When distributing perishable products outside, the utilization of an insulated blanket is a requirement to maintain proper food safety temperatures
It takes a community to feed a community.
Partner Support Manager
Clients Must Be Served at No Charge
As the price of food and other basic goods continues to rise due to inflation, we want to remind our Hunger Relief Partners that donations of time or money cannot be required in order for families to receive food from your pantry or shelter. In order to keep the integrity of our donors, and under Feeding America and Food Bank of the Rockies regulations, the following practices would be considered out of compliance:
- Requiring donations, volunteer time, or participation in a religious service from clients in order to receive food
- Using the food that you receive from Food Bank of the Rockies for personal use or for general use at your facility or church, or using it for fundraising purposes
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when asking for donations:
- You can use jars, envelopes, or similar means of giving clients the option to contribute to your program while making it clear that all contributions are voluntary and can be made anonymously.
- Per IRS regulations, your program’s voluntary contribution system should not make clients feel that it is a requirement to donate.
- Food Bank of the Rockies and Feeding America do not allow for requested specific amounts for donations. All donations should truly only be a voluntary amount that the client feels comfortable giving without coercion or suggestion.
- Your volunteers and staff should not make it a difficult or uncomfortable situation if a donation is not given by the client.
- Do not keep records of clients that are making donations.
- Do not prohibit or discourage a client to participate if they are unable or choose not to give a donation.
- Post our “Free Food” fliers somewhere everyone can see them. The fliers are available to download under “Partner Support” in English, Spanish, and Russian in our Partner Portal.
If you have any questions, please contact our Partner Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denver Online Ordering Guide
The Denver Online Ordering Guide is a document that will walk you through how to place orders on Partner Express. There are step-by-step instructions as well as pictures that will provide a better understanding of Partner Express, the general ordering process, and how to use the Search feature to find just the right item. Please reach out to Partner Support with any questions: email@example.com.
Food for Kids Update
Food Bank of the Rockies is still accepting applications for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to provide much needed nutrition to kids while they are out of school. If your organization provides activities to kids 18 years and younger during the summer and is located in an area with schools that provide free or reduced-priced meals to 50% or more of their students, consider offering this program and complete an application today! Reach out to FFK@foodbankrockies.org with any questions on eligibility and participation.
- Monday, July 4: Closed for Independence Day
- Saturday, July 9: Open 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
- Tuesday, July 12: Virtual partner orientation at 10:00 a.m.
- Wednesday, July 13: Link2Feed Training 9:00 a.m.
- Thursday, July 28: Link2Feed Training 12:00 p.m.
- Thursday, July 28: Virtual partner orientation 1:00 p.m.
- Friday, July 29: Closed at 12:00 p.m.
Please visit the July Calendar for the full schedule. For our full calendar of important dates, please refer to the 2022 calendar. If you have any questions, please contact our Partner Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Closed-Toed Shoe Reminder
Just a friendly reminder now that the weather is getting warmer: open-toed shoes are not permitted in the distribution center. We all enjoy some sunshine on our toes, however, proper footwear is required in all Food Bank of the Rockies distribution centers. Helpful tip: Keep an extra pair of closed toe shoes in your vehicle just in case! Thank you!
Food Safety and Civil Rights Training Update
This spring, Food Bank of the Rockies introduced a new online training platform for annual food safety and civil rights training courses. The new platform is called LEARN and replaced FirstNet Learning. The platform is available via the Partner Portal and requires a new log-in and password. Each Partner contact and authorized shoppers received an email on April 1st to activate a new account.
All Hunger Relief Partners will be required to take these courses annually between July 1‒July 31, 2022. Please contact email@example.com if you have not received your account activation email or have any questions.
As many of you have probably noticed in your local grocery stores and our Partner Express shopping list, the global supply chain is continuing to shift. Food Bank of the Rockies wants to make sure everyone understands the changes in product availability.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, there has been a large shift in manufacturing. Manufacturers are the main source of large-scale donations to Food Bank of the Rockies.
- There have been significantly fewer innovations and new product introductions, which reduces test product inventory that typically gets donated.
- Less product variety and fewer mergers and acquisitions lead to less product to donate.
- There has been a continuous shortage of commodities such as wheat and corn, which are primary ingredients in many produced foods and animal feed.
- Paper that is used to produce boxes and aluminum that is used to make cans are also in low supply, which slows down production and reduces donations.
- Due to the inventory shortages all of the above factors can cause, when something becomes damaged, instead of donating the pallet, the manufacturer may rework the pallet and ship it short of product rather than donate it.
Additionally, Food Bank of the Rockies is experiencing on average a 52% decrease in TEFAP product availability compared to the same time last fiscal year. The decrease in available product is due to ceased COVID-19 relief funds and the cancellation of USDA orders due to availability. Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is actively collaborating with us and the other Colorado food banks in search of available USDA funds and bonus items to fill the void.
While there is a nationwide decrease in donations, we are making sure to maintain our purchased product variety and increase the quantity available. However, we would like to acknowledge the following:
- Canned chicken will be replaced by chicken pouches, Item #21533. Canned chicken has increased almost 50% in price in the past few months and these pouches make a great replacement. The pouched chicken actually holds more chicken and less water than the cans, making it a better deal for your dollars spent.
- There is a national shortage of ramen, and even grocery stores are struggling to keep it on the shelves. We are looking into dry soup mixes to replace this item.
- Eggs have gone up in price more than 100% in the past couple months due to the avian flu sweeping across the country. Egg prices have decreased slightly since their highest peak a few weeks ago but are still staggeringly high.
Our Food Sourcing team is taking several steps to combat these challenges.
- We are working diligently with our transportation team to pick up any donations that become available.
- We are collaborating with other food banks across the Feeding America national network to leverage any overstocked items manufacturers outside of Colorado might have.
- We are stocking up on purchased items to provide variety to help balance the decrease in donated goods.
- We are proactively purchasing goods to keep larger quantities on hand in anticipation of delivery delays and product shortages.
We deeply appreciate our Hunger Relief Partners and everything you do to show up for our communities daily, and we are doing all that we can to support you. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Partner Support Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pick Up Speed with Link2Feed!
“Can you spell out your full name for me?”
“How many children in the household? Older adults?”
These questions may seem like a regular part of the routine for client intake volunteers. But what if instead of focusing on logistical questions, a barcode card could be scanned and the conversation could instead focus on building connections and community? With Link2Feed, a profile is created for each household on their first visit and future visits are completed with a simple and fast check-in process! If you are interested in focusing more on building connections with your clients, sign up for an upcoming Link2Feed training or email L2F@foodbankrockies.org to set up a demo.
New Staffing Announcement
Victoria (Vic) Derington is the new Government Inventory Lead at our Nome warehouse. In this position, Vic will work closely with our partner agencies to schedule orders and resolve any issues and will be responsible for reporting for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). In their free time, Vic enjoys painting, going to shows, exploring new sights with their wife, and hanging with their two fur babies, Nala the dog and Mousse the cat. A fun fact about Vic is that they completed a first responder training while in high school. Their favorite vacation spot is any beautiful setting that may also be haunted. During their honeymoon at the Stanley Hotel, Vic and their wife fell in love with Colorado’s mountains and abundance of nature. They made the move from a small town in Tennessee and have been loving life here ever since. Welcome to Food Bank of the Rockies, Vic!
Client Resource: Summer Kids Meals!
Colorado schools and community organizations are distributing meals at no cost this summer! Nutritious meals are available to all kids and teens 18 and under. Text “Food” to 304-304 or visit KidsFoodFinder.org to find a location near you.
¡Las escuelas de Colorado y las organizaciones comunitarias están distribuyendo comidas sin costo este verano! Las comidas saludables están disponibles para todos los niños y adolescentes menores de 18 años. Envíe un mensaje de texto con “Comida” al 304-304 o visite KidsFoodFinder.org para encontrar un lugar cerca de usted.
Partner Highlight: Colorado Community Church Mobile Pantry
Our partners continue to amaze us! We are so incredibly proud to announce that Lana Lopes, site coordinator at the Colorado Community Church mobile pantry, has received the Minoru Yasui Award by embodying “a community leader dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people.” Twice a month you can find Lana with a warm smile on her face and clip board in hand leading the mobile pantry in Aurora. She guides her volunteer team to distribute food to over 120 families each distribution, as well as kids’ meals for 350 children.
During the pandemic, when so many had lost so much, Lana recognized her ability to contribute to improving the quality of life for her community. Alongside her dedicated volunteers, Lana rose to the challenge of meeting her neighbors’ needs by taking on the added responsibility of distributing kids’ meals through our SFSP and CACFP programs.
In addition to the food distributions, Lana also shines when it comes to client and volunteer interactions. According to Kate Budd, mobile pantry representative, Lana’s contagious kindness and smile help ease any shame or discomfort at the site, which Kate has found to be imperative for establishing trust in communities. Lana’s ability to find common ground with a stranger is unlike anything Kate has ever experienced. “I know I can rely on Lana as a volunteer, community member, and as a steward of the food bank,” said Kate.
Community leaders like Lana allow Food Bank of the Rockies to touch the lives of so many people facing hunger, and we are so grateful for her dedication and support.
Food Bank of the Rockies is an equal opportunity employer and offers paid time off, health, dental, and 401(k) benefits.