It goes without saying that the last few years have been anything but easy. Between the 2019 government shutdown, COVID-19 pandemic, record-high inflation, and another government shutdown currently looming, we have all been forced to rethink the way we support our communities through equitable food distribution.
After being unable to meet in person for our annual partner conference since 2019, we are thrilled to invite you to this year’s partner conference taking place Friday, October 27. Gathering together to ignite the power of community to nourish people facing hunger, the conference will be a time to reflect on everything we’ve learned over the past four years, share best practices, lean into areas of growth opportunity, and receive inspiration for the upcoming year. I so hope you can join us at our new distribution center in Grand Junction for this day of sharing, learning, and fellowship.
You, our dedicated Hunger Relief Partners, are why Food Bank of the Rockies has been able to support people across the Western Slope for 25 years. We look forward to a day when food insecurity is no longer a hardship for anyone, and until that day, we will work together to ensure everyone has the food they need to thrive.
Sue Ellen Rodwick
Western Slope Director
October 27 – Western Slope Partner Conference: Please look for the official invite soon. Check your emails for the “Save the Date” information, which was already sent.
Legislator Site Visits
Want to host your local state representative for a tour of your organization? Reach out to Sarah at email@example.com for more information.
Farmers Feed America Coalition
Farmers Feed America is a coalition of farmers, food companies, food retailers, and anti-hunger organizations focused on strengthening the trusted partnerships between farmers and food banks and calling for a strong 2023 Farm Bill. The coalition launched earlier this year, and now we’re seeking your help to grow its membership. Please share details about the coalition with your state agriculture partners, corporate partners, and donors and encourage them to join us by completing this brief form.
Farm Bill Watch
The Farm Bill is due to be reauthorized this fall. 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 continues to engage with our Congressional Delegation to promote the network’s priorities in the Farm Bill!
Older Adults Would Be Cut from SNAP Under Expanded Work-Reporting Requirement, Worsening Hunger and Hardship
The agreement would expand SNAP’s existing rigid work-reporting requirement to apply to older adults aged 50-54 over time. Starting 90 days after enactment, 50-year-olds would be newly subject to this work-reporting requirement.
Beginning October 1, 2023, almost immediately after the first change would take effect, the work-reporting requirement would expand further to also apply to 51- and 52-year-olds; it would then expand to apply to 53- and 54-year-olds beginning October 1, 2024. Once fully phased in, this requirement would remain in place until October 1, 2030.
It’s estimated that almost 750,000 older adults aged 50-54, nationwide, would be newly subject to SNAP’s work-reporting requirement and at risk of losing benefits under this bill. Nearly half (48%) of the people who would be newly at risk of losing SNAP are women.
Food Bank of the Rockies will continue to monitor changes like this that may affect Hunger Relief Partners and the possible increase in need that may result. Please let us know if you are experiencing any challenges keeping up with the demand.
Join Our Partner Network Meetings
Thank you to the partners who joined our July Partner Network meeting led by SWIM, our consulting agency, who guided the discussions starting in April in preparation for the Colorado Emergency Funds (CEF) grant period. Please see updates about CEF below.
We will be scheduling future Partner Network meetings soon, and look forward to providing additional updates on CEF and other program topics. These meetings are designed with our partners in mind – networking, sharing of best practices, discussing community needs, and how we can collectively support your work to help neighbors experiencing hunger.
Updates in October will be emailed to our mountain community and Western Slope partners. If you have any questions about these meetings, please get in touch with Christina Gumbiner, Western Slope Programs Manager, at 970-438-4887 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping Neighbors Find Food Resources
The Find Food page on the Food Bank of the Rockies website is designed to be the most comprehensive list of pantries and meal programs for neighbors to identify available resources in their area. Thousands of neighbors across our service area rely on foodbankrockies.org/find-food to direct them to the right location, determine pick-up times, and review eligibility requirements. Yet, this information is only as accurate as the information we receive from partners.
Please look up your program using the above URL to verify that the information listed is correct. If you would like to change your listing, or do not see your program listed, please fill out this form and email it to email@example.com. We will ensure that your information is updated or added.
Reminder: Colorado Emergency Funds (CEF) – Free Food Items Available to Partners
We are entering our fifth month of utilizing the $5.4 million in Colorado Emergency Funds (CEF), received at the end of May. We are spending this grant based on feedback received from our partners in the Partner Network meetings held last spring.
Thanks to the input from partners, as of late August:
- 37 items have been made available
- 1,506,587 lbs. of CEF product have been ordered for neighbors
- 351 partners have ordered CEF product
Have you been ordering your allocation of free items? Partners should search Agency Express for items labeled as CEF when placing orders. These are items available to our partners at no fee. To ensure equitable access for our neighbors, we will limit the amount of CEF free products each organization can order. When you see the CEF items on the shopping list, the quantity you see is YOUR allocation. Don’t miss out – order it up! We will continue to make products available until funding is spent or through June 30, 2024.
If you have any questions about ordering these items, please contact our Partner Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of you are now aware that there has been an update that now requires a certain level of insurance to support both the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and EverGreen Boxes™, a Program of Everyday Eats. Please find a link to a presentation that has helpful information in navigating the details of this new requirement. This information is applicable to both programs. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Jill Heidel at email@example.com with questions. We will work closely with the Denver team to assist everyone with this current transition.
Find a copy of this presentation and menu costs here:
Food for Kids Update
Join Us Feeding Kids After School
Food Bank of the Rockies is still accepting applications for the 2023-2024 Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), providing meals to kids after school. The program offers an assortment of nutritious food for qualified neighborhoods and programs. Organizations in areas where 50% or more of school children qualify for free or reduced lunches may be qualified to participate. If you meet this criterion and your site provides activities and programs to kids 18 years of age or younger after school lets out for the day, please consider providing kids a meal though CACFP. We can also work with locations where kids have a four-day school week.
Partners have the option of choosing between fresh and shelf-stable meals, depending on location. As a sponsor of this program, Food Bank of the Rockies provides the food and administrative support at no cost to partners. Kids benefit from this program at all types of locations including libraries, rec centers, Boys & Girls Clubs, schools, and more. Interested partners need to complete an application – training will be provided by Food Bank of the Rockies.
For questions, reach out to Jill Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
New Program Staffing Announcements
Ashley Newell – Promoted to Director of Programs
We are pleased to announce the promotion of Ashley Newell to Director of Programs. Ashley was previously the Culturally Responsive Food Initiative Manager, joining Food Bank of the Rockies in November 2021. As Director of Programs, Ashley oversees Partner Support and Mobile Pantry teams along with the Culturally Responsive Food Initiative.
Caroline Rogers, Volunteer Operations Specialist
We’re thrilled to introduce the latest addition to the Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope team, Caroline Rogers! Hailing from Dallas, Texas, and Aurora, Colorado, Caroline brings our team a unique blend of experiences as the new Volunteer Operations Specialist.
Caroline’s journey started at Food Bank of the Rockies through an internship. Before joining us, she seasoned her skills at Subway and Sprouts. Beyond the office, you’ll find Caroline cruising on her bike, soaking up river views on long walks, and striking poses in yoga class. Her penchant for thrifting, nurturing her thriving plant collection, and savoring a perfect cup of tea showcases her zest for life. Plus, she’s an ardent supporter of local farmers’ markets.
Living with her sister, Caroline has opened her heart and home to a friendly stray cat, Ham.
We are excited to extend a warm welcome to Caroline. We feel lucky to have formally captured the creativity and positivity she infuses into our team!
Empowering Communities: A Beacon of Hope Shines in Montrose County
In a heartening move, the Montrose Board of County Commissioners recently demonstrated their unwavering commitment to the rural West End community. At a pivotal meeting, the board generously donated a 0.427 acre lot and buildings to the West End Family Link Center, solidifying their dedication to the cause.
For years, West End Family Link has steadfastly partnered with Food Bank of the Rockies and supported the hunger-relief needs in Nucla, Colorado, and the surrounding West End area. This community-based nonprofit has been a beacon of support, offering vital services at low to no cost. Beyond numerous hunger-relief programs, their offerings span from support programs, crucial referrals, and empowering self-management education to evidence-based programs, including parenting and nutrition classes. They also extend a lifeline through emergency assistance services, providing essentials like heating assistance.
Doris Van Ness, president of the West End Family Link Board, reflected on their journey: “Five years ago, the West End Family Link board embarked on a strategic plan with audacious goals: to secure a van, establish staffing stability, and find a permanent home. Today, that dream is a tangible reality.”
Montrose County Commissioner, Roger Rash, emphasized the community-first approach of West End Family Link Center: “This is about doing what is in the best interest of our community,” he said.
A West End native, Rash intimately understands these services’ critical role.
“Growing up in the West End, my family relied on these services, and I know how vital they are for a family’s well-being and a community’s success. West End Family Link Center is a cornerstone for the residents, and I am immensely proud to be a part of making this happen.”
Commissioner Phil Roe, sharing his sentiments, added, “I think this will give them the opportunity to take this to the next level. You all do exceptional work down there, and this is an indispensable community service.”
This powerful gesture by the Montrose Board of County Commissioners exemplifies the incredible impact collaboration between public officials and community organizations can have. It is an inspiring testament to what is possible when dedicated individuals come together for a shared cause. As a long-time Hunger Relief Partner with Food Bank of the Rockies, we want to congratulate West End Family Link Center and share this exciting achievement. West End Family Link Center serves as a shining example for others in the field, illuminating a brighter, more empowered future for communities everywhere.