Fresh Out of the Box: November 2020

Cait Barnett Faces of Food Bank, Newsy, Volunteer Opportunities

For many, the holidays mean time with loved ones sharing good food. But this is not a typical holiday season. And during these challenging times, we’re coming together to ensure that every member of our community has access to nutritious food. In the past few weeks, Food Bank of the Rockies purchased 7,500 turkeys and prepared over 1200 traditional meals with turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and pie to share with our community along with food items and meals that we distribute on a daily basis. And in October, we distributed more than 10 million pounds of food in a single month, which is a first for us. We couldn’t do this alone. We are so grateful to our partners, volunteers, staff, and supporters like you for making the holidays a bit brighter for everyone. Thank you! Please read on for inspiring stories and ways to give back right now.

Impact Report

2020 is a year like no other, and in order for us to meet the increased need for food head-on, we’ve increased capacity, established new partnerships, and expanded signature programs to serve our community better. Check out our Impact Report for lessons learned, stories, and our plans for the future as we continue navigating these challenging times together.

Volunteer Spotlight: Laurie Tanner

“Volunteering is kind of in my blood,” Laurie Tanner explained. A registered nurse, Tanner has a history of working with disaster relief organizations worldwide. She has served communities in Bangladesh, Nepal, Puerto Rico, and Texas. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Tanner began visiting the Caribbean. Since 2017, she has also been taking semiannual trips to Greece to serve refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Now, with the pandemic raging at home, Tanner has committed her time to her local community. When she heard of our increased need and lower volunteer numbers, Tanner started volunteering at Food Bank of the Rockies. “It was easy to apply, close to my house, and has a great reputation,” she confessed.

A dedicated warehouse volunteer, Tanner has been praised for her flexibility, consistency, and positive attitude. “In my short time here, I have seen such a variety of volunteers and the staff does a great job dealing with many personalities. [They are] welcoming, friendly, and upbeat. They are why I keep coming back,” she discloses, undeterred in her service even by Denver traffic.

As Food Bank of the Rockies settles into a new normal of serving increased need in our communities, we are fortunate to have Tanner, and volunteers like her, as an integral and indispensable part of our team.

Community Stories

Food Bank of the Rockies shared $14,000 worth of food with our partner, Volunteers of America, for their holiday food distribution. During the two-day event, Volunteers of America distributed 1,500 food baskets. Ebony C. has taken time off from teaching this year to care for her kids who are attending school virtually, and she attended the drive-through distribution. “This food means a lot to me. It takes some of the toll off of me, as far as income goes. This is one less thing I have to worry about for the holiday season. We enjoy spending our time together at the table and eating with one another and enjoy each other’s company.” — Ebony

 

“It’s hard for my mom to spend money to feed us; we try to go to these food banks and use as much food stamps as we can so we can support our lives. I think it’s a good thing that we come here and you guys help support us. I think it’s a wonderful thing.” — Derek & Kristen

 

“This is my first time coming to a mobile pantry like this. Due to COVID-19, my hours as a cashier at a restaurant have been reduced. I’m only working 15 hours a week, and I need help. The food and supplies I received today will be shared amongst two families including 6 adults and 3 kids. I’m so thankful for this community support right now.” — Lucia H.

Volunteer Opportunities

Home Delivery Program

In April 2020, Food Bank of the Rockies launched the Volunteer Home Delivery Program in an effort to meet the need for home-delivered food assistance to low-income adults aged 60+ who are quarantining at home because of the pandemic. Volunteers coordinate with our team and use their own transportation to distribute boxes of food to community members.

We are seeking additional volunteers. Routes are grouped by zip code, and drivers deliver within the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. window. Shifts are flexible and are not more than three hours in duration. Pick up time at our warehouse is scheduled according to a driver’s availability. Volunteer drivers make an average of ten deliveries per shift.

To learn more, please visit our initial application page.

Mobile Pantries

Food Bank of the Rockies’ mobile food pantries are in critical need of volunteer support throughout the region. Currently, 11 mobile pantries are open for volunteer shifts through the end of 2020. This is an opportunity to meet the communities we serve as the holiday season commences.

Please sign up to volunteer at a mobile pantry here.

Shop and Dine to Benefit Food Bank of the Rockies

Taste of the Broncos is remote this year. Denver Broncos Charities have made generous contributions to both Food Bank of the Rockies and the Colorado Restaurant Association’s Angel Relief Fund and are encouraging people to support participating restaurants by dining-in (as permissible), purchasing take-out, or getting delivery through February 7. For a list of restaurants or to donate, please visit the Denver Broncos’ website.

Crate & Barrel is asking customers to donate to their local food bank during checkout through December 31. They will also donate $10 from their Pasta Ornament Set to the Feeding America national office. Funds raised in Colorado and Wyoming stores will directly benefit Food Bank of the Rockies.

Through December 31, a portion of sales of Joel Gott Wines purchased at local retail stores and restaurants will benefit Food Bank of the Rockies through Feeding America. 

King Soopers is giving customers the opportunity to add $5 or $10 to their total at the register as a part of the 9Cares drive through December 31.

A portion of each vehicle sold at Groove Auto will be donated to Food Bank of the Rockies. The goal is to raise $25,000. Check out vehicles here.

Food Bank of the Rockies has formed a new partnership with the food charity app Spare. Spare automatically rounds up users’ dinner and drink bills and shares those funds with Food Bank of the Rockies. Spare boasts a national network of partner bars and restaurants. Users can earn rewards. Just 34 active users can provide 2,500 meals per month to families facing food insecurity. Download the Spare app and share it with friends and family.

On December 5, KBCO Studio C Volume 32, which includes songs performed live exclusively on 97.3 KBCO, will be released at select Colorado Whole Foods Market Front Range locations. Proceeds from sales will benefit Food Bank of the Rockies and Boulder County AIDS Project.

Virtual Food Drives

November 2 – 26

Bonneville Radio campaign, KOSI, KYGO and The Fan, is hosting a virtual food drive to raise funds for Food Bank of the Rockies. Talent will discuss the increased need and will be running their own social media efforts to raise funds. You can support the drive here.

 November 9 – 29

9Cares (9NEWS) is hosting a virtual food drive in lieu of their canned food drive this year. Air-time will be dedicated to talking about the increased need and the impact gifts have on our community. They are also working in conjunction with King Soopers to accept donations at the register. Check out a Q&A with Erin Pulling on Colorado and Company about the importance of giving to ensure everyone has enough food through the pandemic.

Staff Spotlight: Hamza Syed, Food Bank of the Rockies’ Volunteer Coordinator

“It was definitely hard at the start,” volunteer coordinator Hamza Syed noted, explaining changes made at Food Bank of the Rockies in the wake of COVID-19. “A lot was changing at once. It hasn’t gotten easier, but it has become more routine and much more efficient.”

Working with Food Bank of the Rockies as a volunteer coordinator since 2019, Syed is one of our team members who has shouldered a lion’s share of work since the pandemic began. To implement safe social distancing protocols, Syed now conducts three volunteer orientations twice per day instead of one which allows for smaller volunteer group sizes and reduces the risk of exposure for all.

Working with volunteers is Syed’s favorite part of the job. “Staff and volunteers are persistent and love what they do,” he announced, praising volunteers for their dedication and motivation to continue serving even through a pandemic. He is additionally encouraged by the new volunteer base drawn to help nourish our community in these times. “People do this,” he said, “because they believe in the message and support the organization.”

Hunger in the News

Volunteer pulls wagon of food in front of FBR truck.

Volunteer Julia Burciaga of Food Bank of The Rockies delivers box of foods to the second pickup area at Montbello Recreation Center in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday, October 15, 2020. Photo by Hyoung Chang / The Denver Post

As soon as COVID hit, Food Bank of the Rockies ramped up operations to meet the increased need in our service area. “It has been tremendously inspiring to see people make financial gifts and people to show up to volunteer,” Erin Pulling said.

 

The Women’s Antelope Hunt is a statewide event organized by the Wyoming Women’s Foundation to promote mentorship, leadership, and self-sufficiency for women. Photo by Nick Sulzer / Buckrail

Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt supports state’s food banks | The Associated Press

12 participants from the 2020 Women’s Antelope Hunt donated game meat and processing fees to Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies through the Food from the Field Initiative. We are grateful for this gift that goes to nourish the 23 counties in WY.

 

Erin Pulling, president and CEO, Food Bank of the Rockies.
Photo by Kathleen Lavine / Denver Business Journal

Denver Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO | Denver Business Journal

We are excited to announce that our CEO, Erin Pulling, has been honored by Denver Business Journal as one of the city’s Most Admired CEOs. We are proud to serve alongside a Hunger Hero like Pulling and all of our dedicated supporters.

 

Food Bank of the Rockies handed out food and household items on Saturday. They held their event at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. Photo by CBS

Food, Kitchen Items Handed Out At Dick’s Sporting Goods Park | CBS Denver

In October, Food Bank of the Rockies partnered with Alianza de Futbol and Good360 to distribute food and household items at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Our very own Nubia Saenz was featured on CBS Denver alongside Eduardo Ruiz of Alianza de Futbol and Shari Rudolph of Good360. Over 800 households and approximately 40,000 pounds of food were served at the event. Thank you to staff, board members, and volunteers.