As the pandemic swept through the country, many people within our community lost their jobs, saw their work hours reduced, and struggled to pay their bills as well as keep food on the table. At the same time, we’ve also had to scale up while putting our personal safety on the line to continue serving people in our community who need us most. But with ingenuity and determination, we adapted to continue our critical mission of distributing food.
Food Bank of The Rockies Helps Students Suffering from Food Scarcity
We understand that the pandemic has hit college and graduate students extremely hard. Many, especially those with no meal plans, were left without hope as their on-campus jobs ceased to exist and money ran thin. On top of paying for rent and other necessities, they now had to worry about where their next meal would come from.
Hannah is one of those students – overnight, her classes were canceled, her internship was postponed, and she no longer had a job. In order to get by, she visited one of our mobile food pantries. This wasn’t her first visit – it’s become an essential part of her daily survival.
Frontline Workers Also Get Support
Many of the people working on the frontlines, including food service workers, retail employees, and cashiers, have seen their hours reduced due to the pandemic. Lucia is one of those people – a cashier at a cafeteria who saw her hours drastically reduced, throwing her life into a tailspin.
“I’m only working 15 hours a week, and I need help. This is my first time coming to a mobile pantry like this. The food and supplies I get today will be shared between two families— six adults and three kids. I’m so thankful for this community support right now,” she said.
Volunteers Distributing 40,000 Pounds of Food
But we will not be discouraged! In one day, the Food Bank of the Rockies was able to distribute over 40,000 pounds of food to 843 households. Through hard work and planning by volunteers and staff, the pick-ups were fast-paced and safe.
For many of our volunteers, like Sean, this was a change from how they traditionally volunteer. Sean has spent the last four years volunteering many of his Fridays at the Food Bank of the Rockies mobile food pantry site at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Now, his work is even more important as the need for food assistance increased.
Sean enjoys volunteering because he gets to meet new people who come through his line, greeting them with humor and kindness. He encourages everyone he meets to sign up for a shift to see the impact that they can make on the community. “It’s better than happy hour,” he says. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
Sean is passing on his spirit to his daughter, who attends school remotely and now comes with him to help serve others in the community who need assistance in these trying times.
Financial Support Critical to Mobile Food Pantries
In addition to in-person volunteerism, financial support is absolutely critical to our mobile food pantry efforts. We have found that it allows companies and individuals to really “show up” for our community during this time of need. One such company is Ardent Mills.
Ardent Mills is the leading flour supplier in North America. They have built systems that work exceptionally well during this trying time, and their company even pivoted to support Food Bank of the Rockies in as many ways as possible.
While Ardent Mills has always been a great supporter of Food Bank of the Rockies, including raising over $200,000 in their annual charity golf tournament, they were forced to cancel this amazing event in 2020, which led to a change in course for them. Instead, they decided to generously contribute $250,000 directly, their biggest gift so far. With that money, we were able to provide enough food for a million meals – a huge blessing for our community.
“We can only feed our neighbors who face hunger with help from our community,” says Ardent Mills CEO, Dan Dye. Ardent Mills recently received the National Philanthropy Day Award and they absolutely deserve it for their generous support, which came when we needed it more than ever.
Bringing Our Community Together
At Food Bank of the Rockies, we believe now is the time to support your community because everyone is struggling in some way. Some of us are dealing with mental health issues, others are struggling to keep their families safe, and many are still unsure where their next meal will come from. The longer the pandemic lasts, the more food scarcity people face, but no matter what, we will be here to help.
Regardless of what resources you can spare, contributing to the overall wellbeing of your community will help us all unite and come out on the other side stronger than before! For every dollar contributed, we are able to provide four meals for those in need. So, your small monthly contribution can truly make a big difference. Please join us in the fight against hunger because together, we are stronger.