Dear Hunger Relief Partner,
As we await the melting snow and look forward to our plants beginning to blossom, we wanted to remind everyone that supporting local growers is a great way to take sustainable action. Many local farms follow regenerative practices, which help to nourish the soil and reduce the carbon footprint of agricultural production.
“If you’ve never heard about the amazing potential of regenerative agriculture and land use practices to naturally sequester a critical mass of CO2 in the soil and forests, you’re not alone. One of the best-kept secrets in the world today is that the solution to…the climate crisis (as well as poverty and deteriorating public health) lies right under our feet, and at the end of our knives and forks.”
– Ronnie Cummins, Regeneration International Steering Committee Member
We are excited to continue contributing to this work through our partnerships. In 2022, we provided you, our Hunger Relief Partners, with over 9.5 million pounds of produce through our FRESH Program. Of that 9.5 million, 20% of it grew right here in Colorado. This 2023 season, we are hoping to expand our work and continue distributing locally grown, nutrient-dense food in order to get one step closer to closing the meal gap.
To accomplish this mission, Colorado’s local farmers are gearing up for a big season ahead and we are eagerly awaiting the influx of fresh vegetables, sweet fruits, and nutritious snacks that will soon fill our neighbors’ plates. Colorado’s growing season is shorter and more erratic than some of our surrounding states; last year, we saw our final freeze in May. This unpredictable weather creates challenges when it comes to keeping a consistent inventory of farm-fresh produce year-round. However, we are extremely grateful to you for your patience throughout the colder months. We are also grateful to our Colorado farmers for navigating Mother Nature’s ups and downs and providing us with nourishment through it all.
Through your partnership with us, you are supporting these practices and growing alongside us as we learn. Thank you for helping us unite as a community to support our farmers, our planet, and our neighbors.
Josie Gilmore, Programs Outreach Representative, Denver
Please make note of several ordering timeline changes. View the full May 2023 Schedule.
May 4 – CLOSED for Fresh Food Center and pick-ups, deliveries will continue
May 5 – CLOSED for Feeding Colorado Conference; deliveries will continue
May 9 – CLOSED for Fresh Food Center and pick-ups; deliveries will continue. Staff Training.
May 29 – CLOSED for Memorial Day
May 31 – Food Bank of the Rockies will be closing early. Food pick-ups and Fresh Food Center until 11:00 a.m.
Historic State Investment in Hunger Relief
On March 6, 2023, Governor Jared Polis signed into law $14 million in supplemental funding to the Colorado Department of Human Services to assist the emergency food assistance network in procuring additional food considering SNAP Emergency Allotments ending. We are thrilled about this historic investment in hunger relief from the State, and grateful for the recognition of how crucial this challenging time is for SNAP participants. Feeding Colorado food banks look forward to further details about this funding and stand ready to respond to the need in our communities.
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.
Hello from the SNAP team! As you all probably know, the end of pandemic-era emergency SNAP benefits means that many folks are no longer receiving the maximum monthly allotment. To maximize current benefits, we recommend SNAP recipients make sure that they have added all eligible family members and included all possible deductions, which include utility bills, healthcare expenses, and childcare costs. Our team at Food Bank of the Rockies would be happy to assist in this process. Anyone interested can reach us at 970-438-4225 or contact Dean Madrid at email@example.com to schedule an appointment. The application process takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
We are also looking to expand our outreach in the upcoming months and would love to assist your organizations to reach more neighbors. If there are events or food distributions that could benefit from attendance by one of our SNAP Outreach Representatives, feel free to send Dean Madrid (firstname.lastname@example.org) an email to discuss further.
Thank you to everyone who joined our quarterly training for the EverGreen Boxes™, a program of Everday Eats program. We appreciated all the questions and feedback. For those of you who were not able to join us, we recorded the training and have the slides available for your review.
Agenda Items Covered:
- Team Updates
- Review of Updated 2023 Income Guidelines
- Agency Receipts
- End of Month Inventory Reports
- Civil Rights
- Partner Reviews
- L2F Updates
- SNAP Emergency Allotment Benefit
Food for Kids
Summer can be a tough time for many families who rely on their children’s schools to provide them with regular meals. Family grocery costs can rise as much as $300 per month over the summer and children who experience hunger are more likely to experience the “summer slide,” setting them behind academically for when they return to school in the fall.
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.
The application for SFSP is now live! We will be sending out an email to all current CACFP and 2022 SFSP participants. You may also access the application in our Partner Portal under Partner Forms & Documents in the Food For Kids dropdown menu. We encourage you to share this information with other organizations that support children’s programming.
If your agency hasn’t participated before but 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 Jill “JT” Davis at email@example.com.
If you applied for the Building Belonging Program (formerly called the Inclusive Capacity Building Program), please expect to hear back on your application status by Monday, May 8. Once confirmed, we are excited to invite you to meet in person at our Etkin Family Distribution Center in Grand Junction on the afternoon of Friday, May 26. Additionally, please plan to attend three virtual sessions as part of the training process: DEI (May 23, 9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.), Language Justice Part I (May 30, 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.), and Language Justice Part II (June 1, 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.).
We are excited about this opportunity to collaborate together with you to address community cultural differences, language barriers, diverse food preferences, and other barriers to access to increase equity in your food distributions.
If inflation is putting high-dollar proteins like meat, eggs, and seafood out of reach, encourage neighbors to embrace more affordable plant-based proteins. Legumes such as canned or dry beans, lentils, and peas can help folks stretch or replace meat while keeping their families full and nourished. Easy recipes like Lebanese-Inspired Mujadara with Lentils, Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas, or Vegetarian Three-Bean Chili include protein and fiber to create satisfying meals. Shop for seasonings to add flavor and spice to legumes, such as chili powder (#WS22650), cumin (#WS22653), and black pepper (#WS26225).
Bookmark our growing recipe library for more recipes in English and Spanish incorporating affordable ingredients.
We will be hosting Link2Feed trainings on May 10 at 9:00 a.m. and May 23 at 2:00 p.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.
Upcoming Changes to Link2Feed Phone Number Requirements
Beginning June 1, 2023, Link2Feed will change the phone number question from unrequired to required. The goal of this change is to increase Food Bank of the Rockies’ and Hunger Relief Partners’ compliance with government programs and product recall requirements. The Community Insights team will follow up directly with partners and users in the coming weeks to offer guidance through the transition.
If you’re interested in Link2Feed, have questions, or need technical support, you can reach the Community Insights team at L2F@foodbankrockies.org.
Local Farmer Work Highlight
Even in the middle of winter, as seeds are just beginning to be planted and growers are turning their thoughts to the upcoming growing season, there are surprising opportunities to source fresh, local Colorado produce.
Food Bank of the Rockies began a fruitful partnership with Uproot last year, a gleaning organization that organizes volunteers to harvest and donate excess fresh produce from farms and orchards on the Western Slope and Front Range of Colorado. When an orchard in Paonia reached out to Uproot in mid-March to donate 8,000 pounds of fresh storage Fuji apples from the fall harvest, Uproot and Food Bank of the Rockies moved quickly to coordinate and receive the donation.
As many of us know, having Colorado apples in March is an unexpected treat, and we were so excited to rescue this beautiful produce and make it available to our partners across the Western Slope. Our grower partnerships across the state are crucial to our mission to bring nutritious, local food to all of our communities, and we thank all of our growers and ranchers for the incredible work they do in providing us all with the food we enjoy every day!
Western Slope Partner Highlight
In 1954, local fruit growers’ wives were moved to join forces to improve the living conditions of the migrant seasonal farm workers and their families in Mesa County. The efforts of Vera Foss, Margaret Talbotts, and Dorothy Power led to the mobilization of churches and local organizations to provide basic food, clothing, medical services, and childcare to farm workers. In 1969, efforts coalesced into forming Child and Migrant Services, newly named La Plaza, which reflects their intention of bringing the community together to face challenges in a central gathering place.
La Plaza’s mission is to serve, empower and cultivate the well-being of migrant and immigrant agricultural workers and their families in the Grand Valley. The vision to provide an inclusive community where immigrants and migrants are valued, respected, and have equal opportunity is their daily goal. Locally, La Plaza supports employers and community resource providers to grow their culturally responsive and equity-based approaches that serve their diverse communities. The team at La Plaza encourages empowerment through community navigation and cultural integration. Through resource nights, social gatherings, events, and volunteer opportunities, they provide a way to learn from each other and generate a sense of belonging.
As we prepare in the upcoming seasons to reap the bountiful produce that the Grand Valley is famous for, we at Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope are proud to partner with La Plaza. The care they provide to our neighbors, who in turn become assets to our community, is a prosperous relationship for us all. We look forward to strengthening our partnership in years to come to support their mission of inclusion and empowerment.
Western Slope Staff Highlight
Greetings! My name is Dusty Lightfoot, and I am the new Retail Grocery Rescue Coordinator. The main purpose of my role is to connect retail stores to Hunger Relief Partners with the goal of food being put into the hands of people in need, as opposed to being thrown away.
My department focuses on expanding the food rescue program, identifying and encouraging new donors, and working with current donors to expand opportunities for a wide variety of items. As I build relationships, I may call on Partners to ask questions about their experiences with the grocery rescue process. This shared dialogue will give me a snapshot of where there are gaps and how we can help to fill them.
By working with both donors and Hunger Relief Partners, we aim to grow this program and are proud of how it ties into sustainability efforts as well as continues to help our neighbors in need. At Food Bank of the Rockies, we are committed to ensuring fair and equitable access to resources and we appreciate the dedication and support our Partners provide