Food banks across the city are working hard to provide food for record numbers of people suffering from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pantries have adapted their operations to reduce in-person contact and increase sanitation procedures, while also meeting increased demand.
The pandemic has created a unique challenge for organizations fighting food insecurity, creating an increased need for supplies and volunteers at many Denver food pantries.
“In addition to increased need, the rise in food costs is hitting us hard,” said Metro Caring CEO Teva Sienicki. “What we used to spend during an entire calendar year on supplementing food purchases, things like rice, oats, beans, and milk, we are now spending in less than a month. We are seeing increased costs in keeping our warehouse, sorting area, walk-up, and drive-through safe and clean to continue this essential service, spending $30,000 a month on PPE, bags, and cleaning supplies.”
With a vaccine in sight, food banks still expect to provide high volumes of food to those in need for the foreseeable future. Here are six organizations in the Denver Metro Area that need your help to ensure that no Denverite goes hungry this winter.
Servicios De La Raza is dedicated to providing culturally responsive human services to Denver’s Latinx community. They are currently in need of both perishable and non-perishable food donations, gift cards, and monetary donations. Additionally, the pandemic has strained their volunteer capacity, and are in need of volunteers Wednesday and Friday mornings to prepare food deliveries. For more information and to get involved visit serviciosdelaraza.org.
Sacks of Love, located in the Montebello neighborhood, opens its doors every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to provide perishable and non-perishable food items to those in need. A donation is one of the best ways to best support Sacks of Love, as $50 can feed a family for a week.
Metro Caring is serving many people who have never had to go to a food pantry before, including small business owners, hospitality workers, retirees, and healthcare workers. “We’ve gone from serving an average of 2,364 families a month pre-COVID to serving an average of 7,128 families a month during COVID,” says CEO Teva Sienicki. To help out, sign up to volunteer, or donate through their website.
Food Bank of the Rockies has seen “an entirely new level of food insecurity” since March, with over 30% of people reporting their first time seeking out food assistance. To meet this demand, Food Bank of the Rockies is expanding their operations by adding a temporary distribution center and implementing a night shift. The best way to help Food Bank of the Rockies is to donate. Just $21 a month can provide a week’s worth of groceries to a family of four.
We Don’t Waste is asking for monetary donations and volunteers in order to support their operations through the pandemic. Executive Director Arlan Preblud says that demand for food has increased by 300% during the pandemic, and has required employees to work long hours and take extra precautions to keep themselves safe. We Don’t Waste has shifted its operations to Mobile Food Markets, which operate eight times per month in an effort to distribute food safely and limit in-person contact.
Weinberg Food Pantry is accepting non-perishable food items, as well as monetary donations. To safely meet the needs of the community, they are providing pre-packed boxes of food and using a pick-up system to reduce face-to-face contact. Director of Marketing and Communications Jenny Herren says that Jewish Family Service (JFS) has seen a dramatic increase in the need for food support this year, and those interested in contributing can check out their most wanted items, and purchase through amazon to have food shipped directly to their office.