× 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!


May 2024 Western Slope Partner Newsletter


Farm with flowers in bloom.

Dear Hunger Relief Partners,

As we step into the vibrant season of renewal, it’s time to shake off the winter frost and embrace the spirit of spring! With blossoms blooming and days growing longer, we’re not only welcoming a change in weather but also ushering in fresh opportunities for growth and collaboration in our mission to alleviate hunger.

In the spirit of spring cleaning, we’re excited to share some reminders to help streamline operations and enhance impact:

  1. Staffing Updates: Many of you have sprouted some new faces in your team garden! Please ensure that all staff members, both new and seasoned, are up to date with their food safety and civil rights training. Additionally, please reach out to Jill Davis, jilldavis@foodbankrockies.org, for any new staff needing access (please, no sharing access) to our ordering platforms or shopping permissions. She will provide them with the necessary credentials and training.
  2. Operating Hours and Locations: Just like flowers reaching for the sun, your operating hours and locations may experience some changes. Keep us tuned in to any updates to ensure smooth coordination in serving our communities. If you will be closed for any upcoming spring and summer holidays or have some well-deserved vacations on the books, please let Jill Davis know.
  3. Spring Facility Cleanup: As we bid adieu to winter, let’s give all our facilities a thorough spring cleaning. By stacking unwanted pallets in an accessible location, our drivers can facilitate their easy removal. Take a moment to clear debris that may have been hiding under snowbanks and remove any obstacles that could hinder safe and efficient access, thus ensuring your deliveries can be received in a timely and efficient manner.


We are embracing the philosophy that a clean and organized facility not only enhances safety but also symbolizes our commitment to excellence in serving our neighbors in need. This is evident in our exciting and proud shout-out to our Western Slope Operations Team, scoring a 930 on a recent American Institute of Baking (AIB) food safety audit! This historical record earned us a prestigious banner and we wanted to share that hard work and accomplishment to illustrate our commitment to creating a superior environment for you.

As we embrace the rejuvenating energy of spring, let’s approach our work with fresh eyes, a growth mindset, and a zest for innovation. Together, we can cultivate new perspectives and sow the seeds of positive change in our communities.

In closing, we want to express our deepest appreciation for your dedication, care, and passion for ending hunger. Your partnership is the essential ingredient in our recipe for success, and we’re honored to walk this journey with you.

Let’s spring into action, nourishing hearts and stomachs alike!

Warm regards,

The Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope Team

Staffing Updates

Departure – Cindy Mitchell

We would like to share news that Cindy Mitchell, Vice President of Programs, has concluded her tenure at Food Bank of the Rockies.

Throughout Cindy’s 20 years at Food Bank of the Rockies, she supported the organization in quintupling the volume of food distributed across our service area and developed many of our programs from idea to inception. Over the years, she has worn many hats — her first job here was at the agency order window, moving up within the programs department until her final role as vice president, where she worked to strengthen the foundation of our programs. Cindy was an integral part of the programs team, bringing her talent, skill, and personality to our projects and daily interactions.

We know many of you have had long relationships with Cindy, whether grabbing coffee/lunch with her, hosting her at countless partner visits, or collaborating with her on initiatives to better serve our communities. Cindy was a fierce advocate for the work we do for our partners and always looked ahead for ways we could continually improve and expand our programs. She encouraged us to be bold, to think big, and to approach our work with humility and a sense of humor. Cindy made time for the questions and needs of individuals, despite her busy schedule. She valued the experiences and relationships formed during her time with Food Bank of the Rockies.

Her dedication and hard work made a significant impact on our team’s dynamic. Beyond her personal contributions, Cindy was a friend to many of us, and she will be greatly missed. We’re sure you will join us in wishing her success. As we look toward the future, we will work together with the same dedication and teamwork that Cindy exemplified.

Important Dates

May 27 – Closed for Memorial Day

Please plan ahead as we are unable to facilitate a make-up delivery day.

Advocacy/Policy Update

Get involved!

Feeding Colorado is our association of the five Feeding America food banks in Colorado, collaborating and leveraging our combined strengths to reach people in every county, every day, and advocating for programs and policies that address the many factors contributing to food insecurity. 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? Feeding Colorado will be offering an informational session on how to get involved with current policy priorities. Fill out this form to learn more: https://forms.office.com/r/2sauRbHR0n

Advocacy Training- Presentation and Recording

Thank you to everyone who could join the Advocacy Training presented by Feeding Colorado on April 4. If you would like to revisit the content or if you missed the training, please find the presentation attached and the link to the recording below. Additional trainings will be announced soon.


Passcode: 302$^.?g

If you have any questions about Feeding Colorado or how to get involved, please contact Mandy Nuku mnuku@feedingcolorado.org and Sarah Mason sgregory@feedingcolorado.org.

Farm Bill and Government Funding

In mid-March, Congress passed a package of six bipartisan appropriations bills, including the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) agriculture appropriations bill. In doing so, Congress averted a partial government shutdown of the departments and agencies funded by these six bills.

The FY24 agriculture appropriations bill (also known as the farm bill) largely protects funding for federal nutrition programs, increases program funding to meet expected program participation, and does not include harmful policy changes to nutrition programs, such as the proposed SNAP choice restriction pilots and limitations to USDA’s discretionary Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) spending authority. Importantly, the bill increases WIC funding to $7 billion, which will ensure vital nutrition support to an estimated 7 million eligible adults, young children and infants.

While we are celebrating this funding package that protects access to critically important nutrition programs, we are disappointed by the lower TEFAP administrative funding level. We will continue to emphasize to lawmakers the importance of robust funding to help food banks distribute TEFAP foods alongside our ongoing advocacy for a strong, bipartisan farm bill that fortifies and protects nutrition programs.

On March 23, Congress passed a package of six bills to fund all remaining federal departments and agencies through federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24). This ends the threat of a government shutdown for the rest of FY24 (which ends on September 30, 2024) and prevents disruption to the paychecks of active-duty military personnel and employees of the federal government and federal contractors.

Feeding Colorado continues to engage with our Congressional Delegation to promote the network’s priorities in the farm bill.

State Session

The Colorado 2024 state session is well underway with a record number of bills being introduced by our legislature. As always, you can find our state policy priorities, designed to guide our actions and position for this year’s session, here on our website.

One exciting update: the Joint Budget Committee supported the creation of the Community Food Assistance Provider Grant program, which combines the food pantry and food bank assistance programs. This would be ongoing, sustainable funding with an appropriation of $3 million for the 2024-2025 state fiscal year. We are doing everything we can to address the immense need across our state and advocate for additional funding. 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, linked here, that outlines legislation being considered this session: endhungerco.org/policy-platform.

Feeding Colorado Presentation

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

De-escalation training available for your organization

Pallack logo. Peacebuilding systems.Food Bank of the Rockies collaborated with Pollack Peacebuilding Systems to customize a learning session to develop skills and tactics to assist in situations needing de-escalation. Please find this training on our Neogov platform starting in May 2024. Go to our website and into the Partner Portal, then click on Partner Training. Use the same login and password you use for civil rights and food safety training. Please note you will also have a handout for this session and quick reference guides to post and share within your network that offer reminders of the tactics learned.

This session will cover:

  • Understanding the root of escalation
  • In the moment self-regulation strategies
  • Navigating the escalation spiral
  • A four-step de-escalation process

Colorado Emergency Funds (CEF) Update

We are 12 months into making food items available to partners at no cost thanks to over $6 million in Colorado Emergency Funds (CEF) received. We have until June 30, 2024, to spend these funds and are on target to do so. We continue to procure food items based on feedback received from our partners. Are you getting the items you need for food pantries?

Thanks to our partners:

  • 129 items have been made available.
  • 6,511,874 lbs. of CEF product have been distributed to our neighbors.
  • 492 partners have participated in the CEF program.

Government Programs

Everyday Eats Neighbor Preference Survey

The Everyday Eats team will be distributing a neighbor survey to gain deeper insights into preferences for Everyday Eats foods and supplemental items. We will contact neighbors directly but wish for everyone to be aware in case there are questions.

We will also be sharing a partner survey to understand FRESH Program participation and any storage capacity or barriers you may be facing. We look forward to learning more about your interest in our fresh product bag supplement and how we need to move forward with expansion. We thank you in advance for your participation!

Food for Kids Update

Ready for Summer?

The Food for Kids team is gearing up for summer and the shift in kids programming opportunities it brings. When the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) ends with the school year, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) picks up, providing free breakfast, lunch, and/or supper to qualifying kids throughout the summer. The Food for Kids team will send out the application soon to former program sites. If you are interested in applying now, here is the application for summer 2024.

For additional information, please email the Food for Kids email at FFK@foodbankrockies.org.

CRFI Update

Building Belonging Program is Now Available Online!

The Building Belonging Program assists Hunger Relief Partners in understanding and addressing the barriers to food access that our neighbors may experience. Topics include methods to learn about your community, cultural and religious food preferences, language barriers, ensuring simple access, culturally responsive outreach, and building trust and respect. These practices aim to support creating spaces of belonging and increasing equity in your distributions.

Available in English and Spanish on NeoGov. Takes approximately one hour to complete: foodbankrockies.org/partner-portal/partner-training

Contact CRFI@foodbankrockies.org or Dean Madrid at dmadrid@foodbankrockies.org for further information.

If you missed this quarter’s Building Belonging Lunch & Learn where we heard from Reem Farra, a registered dietitian at Kaiser Permanente, about serving Halal-observant communities, understanding Halal foods, and recognizing Ramadan’s impact on neighbor’s access and food choices, you can find the recording here: youtube.com/watch?v=akY8x-iPfeM.

Helpful resources:
Guide to Halal Foods
Religious Dietary Restrictions


Visit our Online Recipe Library

Do you ever stare blankly into your pantry, wishing something tasty would magically appear? Us too. Throw together a super easy meal or snack using just five pantry ingredients or less, like Tuna Mac and Cheese, Honey Nut Cereal Bars, or 5-Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies. Yes, we have shelf-stable milk (item #17021 or 19527)!

For more ideas featuring common food bank and pantry items, visit our recipe library. Tap the “Print” button to print some English/Spanish recipes for your next food distribution!

Food Sourcing Update

New Item Request Process

Is there an item your program would like to stock on your pantry shelves, possibly requested by neighbors, that you don’t see in our inventory? In collaboration with our partner support and sourcing teams, we have developed an internal process to receive requests from our Hunger Relief Partners and share them with the souring team for consideration. If we can procure the item, it would be made available to all partners on Partner Express. The new process calls for a formal submission of requests with pertinent information contained in the requests, including item description, desired pack size, price considerations, etc. Should you wish to submit a new item request, please contact Jill Davis at jilldavis@foodbankrockies.org.

Partner Highlight 

Large group of participants from the TEFAP conference.

What a joy it was to come together at the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) conference hosted by the Colorado Department of Human Services in Vail. Gathering at the Grand Hyatt, set against the backdrop of the majestic Rockies, this event brought together regional leadership from Food Bank of the Rockies, Care and Share, and Weld Food Bank along with many of their TEFAP partners, creating a rich tapestry of collaboration and camaraderie.

The welcome dinner reception set the perfect tone, allowing us to break bread together and forge new bonds. We had the pleasure of listening to the captivating keynote by Adrian Miller, who regaled us with tales of barbecue history in the United States. It was a refreshing start, reminding us that learning can be as entertaining as it is enlightening.

Throughout the conference, the breakout sessions offered something for everyone. Whether it was delving into the basics of TEFAP administration, exploring grant strategies, or learning how to build more inclusive sites, each session provided valuable insights and practical takeaways. Special recognition goes to Karina Browning, whose expertise enriched the discussion on inclusivity on the Western Slope.

The opportunity to gather Food Bank of the Rockies Hunger Relief Partners together for a group Q&A was invaluable, fostering collaboration and shared learning. We were thrilled to see such strong representation from Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope, with 50% of TEFAP partners participating — a testament to the dedication of our community.

A highlight of the conference was the announcement of Open Bible Church’s exemplary TEFAP compliance on the Western Slope. It’s a shining example of the commitment and hard work demonstrated by our partners every day in serving our communities.

As we reflect on our time together, we are filled with gratitude — for the chance to gather, for the tireless efforts of our partners, and for the meaningful work each of you do daily to alleviate hunger and support our neighbors in need. Thank you for your dedication, your passion, and your unwavering commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

New Staffing Highlight

Isaac LabigFood For Kids Representative, Isaac Labig

Please welcome our newest team member, Isaac, to the Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope team! Hailing from picturesque Grand Junction, Isaac brings with him a lifetime of local knowledge and a passion for making a difference.

Born and raised in Grand Junction, Isaac’s journey began at St. Mary’s Hospital, and he’s been a proud resident ever since. Starting with teaching internships and a stint as a barista, Isaac’s career path has been diverse, including roles as a bookkeeper at his church and an estimator for a local stucco sub-contractor. However, it was his time as a youth mentor at Ariel Clinical Services that truly ignited his passion for community service.

Now, as our Food for Kids program representative, Isaac is ready to continue his mission of supporting youth and addressing the issue of hunger head-on. His passions include youth advocacy and support, learning through ongoing education, and the continued growth and expression of his faith.

Outside of work, he’s both a new father and a devoted pet parent to two corgis, Ein and Ulrika. Isaac enjoys hiking, gaming, and spending quality time with his wife and friends. Reading, gardening, listening to podcasts, and playing guitar fill his down time.

With Isaac on our team, we’re excited to continue our mission of providing hunger relief and support to communities across the Rockies. Welcome aboard, Isaac!

Neighbor Resources

Neighbor Information/Resources

Summer EBT is Coming to Colorado in Summer 2024!

Summer EBT is a new federal program that will serve as an additional support for low-income households. Families with children eligible for national free or reduced-price school meals will be eligible to receive $40/month per eligible child. For more information on eligibility requirements and the overall program, please visit the Colorado Department of Human Services webpage: cdhs.colorado.gov/p-ebt.  Interested in learning more? Check out the Summer EBT Factsheet.


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