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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!

× Family at Food Pantry

Make 2X the Impact this Summer

URGENT REPORT: 1 in 9 Coloradans are experiencing food insecurity. Your donation today will help provide 2X the nourishment for our neighbors.

Make 2X the impact this summer for our Colorado neighbors >>

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Live Here, Give Here.

Together, we can make a difference in our state.

Make your WyoGives Day gift before midnight and have it matched to support Food Bank of Wyoming.

Make your WyoGives Day gift now and have it matched to support Food Bank of Wyoming.

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MATCH DEADLINE: August 31, 2024

Your gift today will help provide 2X as much nourishing food for our neighbors experiencing hunger.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to DOUBLE your impact this summer >>

DONATE:

Western Slope Volunteer Opportunities Expand with a Certification Program to Operate Machinery

Volunteer Dave White using a compactor for boxes alongside Food Bank of the Rockies’ Volunteer Operations Specialist Caroline Rogers.
Volunteer Dave White using a compactor for boxes alongside Food Bank of the Rockies’ Volunteer Operations Specialist Caroline Rogers.

Dan Witt performs a variety of tasks at Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope Etkin Family Distribution Center in Grand Junction, where he’s been volunteering twice weekly for the past year. Witt served nearly three decades as the director of food services for Pueblo County School District, so he’s accustomed to working with food and numbers, he said.

“I like helping people,” Witt said. “I’m feeding kids again.”

However, you don’t need experience working with food to help at the Food Bank. Volunteers come from all walks of life, said Adrianna Jacobsen, Western Slope Volunteer Operations Lead. Truck drivers, an aerospace engineer, a train conductor, various business owners: all are among the wide array of people who volunteer at Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope.

Working with a crew of about a dozen volunteers during his two-and-a-half hour shifts, Witt typically keeps busy building and packing food boxes for Food Bank of the Rockies’ mobile pantries and Hunger Relief Partners. He also fills and labels two- and four-pound bags of carrots and potatoes purchased in bulk by the Food Bank. Other days, he attends mobile pantry events, where he helps set up pallets with food for distribution to community members.

Additionally, Witt helps Food Bank employees by operating warehouse equipment like the compactor (a machine that crushes cardboard boxes in preparation for recycling) — a task he was trained to do on the job.

Volunteers now have the option to become certified to operate the compactor and other big machinery, such as the pallet wrapper and pallet jacks. Training volunteers to operate this equipment frees up staff members to attend to other tasks.

Earlier this year, Jacobsen began brainstorming with Volunteer Operations Supervisor Steve Serve and Development Manager Gabriela Garayar about how to involve volunteers in more ways.

“We have volunteers who notice when something needs to be done; they want to be able to help. This gives them a chance to be a lot more involved,” Jacobsen said. “We can train them if they want to and can physically do the job. A lot of volunteers have worked in a warehouse before so already know how to operate the machinery.”

Some of these seasoned volunteers have been with Food Bank of the Rockies for 10-plus years and are eager to pitch in where they see a need, Serve said.

“We’re making it a more formal training where we can bring new people in alongside them,” Serve said. “We use power jacks, a baler, and a wrapping machine on a daily basis. We’ll take volunteers and do one-on-one trainings. We’ll go through standard operating procedures, safety procedures. At this time, we’re still developing the certification process. Our goal is to also create online training videos.”

Person standing at wrapping machine wrapping a palette of boxes.

The main volunteer opportunity at Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope is in the warehouse. In addition to packing boxes and repackaging and labeling bulk products, there are volunteers who sort through donated foods to check expiration dates and look for damage.

“We get a lot of grocery rescue food, and want to make sure it’s okay to distribute,” Jacobsen said. “Sometimes we have totes of loose dried beans that weigh up to two tons that we divide up into smaller one- to two-pound bags.”

Volunteers can also help in the food dehydration room by slicing and loading fruits onto dehydration trays and packaging and labeling the products.

Approximately 40 regular volunteers come to the Etkin Family Distribution Center each week to help out — people like Dave White, who’s been volunteering at the Food Bank since March 2023. Prior to becoming a volunteer, White visited a friend in Tucson who had recently published a book about a group of Tucson residents who established the city’s first food bank during the 1970s. White found the story fascinating, and decided to join Food Bank of the Rockies’ volunteer team after he returned home to Grand Junction.

“Health care workers helped us when we needed it [during my late wife’s illness],” White said. “I feel like I’m paying it back. There are so many volunteer opportunities. This one had my name on it. It’s very rewarding.”

From February 2023 to February 2024, Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope documented an 84% increase in volunteer occurrences. If you’d like to join our mission as a volunteer, please click here to sign up for a shift today!

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