I was lucky enough to get to run with the Mile High Mamas on a tour of the Food Bank of the Rockies recently for the Child Hunger Ends Here Campaign. I had a number of things to do in Denver besides the tour and my father asked if he could tag along. I was pretty thrilled by this. We have a grateful relationship with food banks. My family went through some very lean times growing up, we have been on the receiving end of the work that food banks do. When our tour guide asked who has been to one before and what you did there I really wanted to answer I have been to one to pick up grub with my family, but didn’t want to cause any uncomfortable tension.
I have known true hunger a few times in my life as a child. My classmates never knew I was going through it, but it was a reality for me and I know it is a reality for many children in the United States. Not only children but adults and especially seniors who are being hit by a high cost of living.
Anyone can be hungry. One little boy with our group almost brought tears to my eyes when asked who the hungry are. He paused then said, “maybe my friends.” Especially in times of economic downturn ANYONE CAN BE HUNGRY.
Here is our tour, some factoids, and how you can get involved.
- The current Food Bank of the Rockies facility is about 4 years old. They needed a larger space to safely hold more products.
- Food is provided for approximately 1100 agencies in Northern Colorado and Wyoming.
- Approximately 1 in 8 Coloradans are hungry
- 42% of the people served by Food Bank of the Rockies are children.
The series of warehouse space is kept cool for the variety of food there. Here is a stack of empty banana boxes, and the whole facility did have a faint smell of bananas.
The food bank previously outsourced the creation of meals for after school programs but has since built a kitchen within the warehouse to make everything in-house. This kitchen was pretty cool in that it was essentially a clean, sealed box contained within a larger warehouse space.
Volunteers are the backbone of how the Food Bank of the Rockies operates.
The food bank is in no position to turn down donations. As a result they had a lot of soda in the warehouse. This is not their first choice of what to hand out but I can see how this can be a tax write-off for companies, especially after discount retailers passed on these products. My dad saw all the soda and sad, “Chips and soda, the South Central diet” in reference to our time in South Central Los Angeles where healthy food access was very limited.
At first I stared at the Snuggies donations like they were a joke and one of the donations the food bank was in no position to turn down. Then I checked myself. I saw one big shipment slated to go to an agency working on behalf of child welfare. The Food Bank is involved with a Totes of Hope program that provides children with backpacks of food for the weekend for when child service programs are closed, they also provide bags for seniors in need once a month. I can see low-income individuals being very grateful for a Snuggie to offset heating bills.
I talked to our tour guide about the food in the warehouse. She said they did not prefer the soda donations but with them came food donations many times (and that is what they could not pass up.) She said with the monetary donations they sought to purchase meat and produce most often.
Monetary donations are the best donations individuals can make to the Food Bank of the Rockies. In this demonstration you see how much further money goes with their purchasing power via Feeding America. Give money if you can.
Here is our fortunate group at the end of the tour. We are members of the Mile High Mamas and our families. Con Agra Foods was the force behind our tour as part of their larger campaign CHILD HUNGER ENDS HERE. Through 31 May enter select 8-digit Con Agra Food product codes online for each one to be redeemed as a donated meal to Feeding America. The goal is to donate 2.5 million meals.
This was a tough post for me to wrap my head around. I do not buy any of these processed food products nor consume them (if you are a regular reader of my blog you know this). However pragmatically Con Agra Foods is helping so many families who do not have the luxury to have a choice with the kind of food they consume due to whatever circumstances that led them to a food bank. So while I will not necessarily buy these products I do whole-heartedly support this campaign and urge anyone who purchases these products to enter the code online.
I went hungry way too many times as a child and it breaks my heart to know many children still go through their lives not knowing where their next meal is coming from.