2,000 Families & 5,000 Kids

This morning I witnessed a line of our neighbors that extended around a city block in East Denver. Last week, 2,000 families and more than 5,000 children signed up with Volunteers of America to receive a bag of food to get them through this holiday week. They lined up before 8:00am this morning to pick up the much needed food. VOA volunteers served coffee and hot chocolate outside as folks waited in the bitter cold. The line didn't end. And neither did the innocent faces of countless kids who were surprised to find "Santa" inside and thousands of presents waiting just for them. For many, these gifts are the first "new" item they've ever claimed as their own.

VOA has organized this enormously vital effort for over 12 years. FBR has been honored to be given the opportunity to provide the food, Safeway donates hams for each family and a generous group of Realtors donates gifts for the kids. Working together for those who don't have the resources to do so is a beautiful thing.



Zeke decided in his early years that he wasn't wanting for anything, so why not give back to those who are? Rather than stockpile the latest toys for his birthday party, he asked all his friends to donate food or money to FBR. That they did. Zeke, who's currently growing his hair out to donate to Locks of Love, toured our warehouse and shared some words of wisdom.
"What can people do if they don't have enough money to pay for food? They're suffering. It feels good to know that when people support FBR and agencies, it's like saving someones life who's starving. When you help, you're saving lives, so why not do it?" A little heart sure can go a long way.



Hot was an understatement. But temperatures pushing 100 didn’t stop folks from coming out to the Produce and Health Fair in Northglenn this summer. Before the fair opened at 9:00 a.m., the line was already reaching beyond the block and around the corner. People were waiting for healthy food – food they could not otherwise afford. Volunteers scurried to ready the pallets of bananas, carrots, plums, bread and yogurt provided by FBR. Gardeners had also donated some lettuce and tomatoes. As people reached the food, we asked them their stories. Let me introduce Savannah.

This young woman was expecting her first child any day. “I just registered for food stamps,“ she says, “and that’s how I found out about this fair. There’s some good information here on nutrition and fruits and veggies. I’m also going to get the car seat checked for safety before the baby comes.” After the baby arrives Savannah plans to take six weeks off -unpaid. “My boyfriend works too, but without my income, we can’t cover the bills. My mom was just laid off from a tech company, so she's not able to help us. She's struggling herself. Without programs like this one, we'd have more credit card debt or worse, we just wouldn't eat every day. This baby needs nutrition. I wouldn't be able to provide that for him or her.”



Uly knows firsthand what it's like to be without. He graciously tells the story of what brought him to serve on FBR's Board of Directors in the video below. Check it out.


Arely, Isabel & Githzell

The students at Smith Elementary & Whittier Elementary in Denver don't live in an upscale area of town. Many of them find themselves wondering where their next meal will come from. When these kids were asked to choose a charitable cause to focus their efforts on, they read books, researched and decided to focus their energy on the issue of hunger. The kids set up a food and fund drive, wrote letters asking for sponsors to pledge an amount for each can collected, and collected the cans and the money. Food Bank of the Rockies was chosen to receive the food collected and the money pledged was sent to Heifer International to buy animals for villagers that produce a sustainable food source. FBR sent a truck to each school where the students grinned ear to ear while loading their donations into barrels in the truck. Arely, Isabel and Githzell had a lot to say about why it's important to help those who are hungry.


Dolerez, Naomi & Max

Dolerez came to the United States 26 years ago in hopes of providing a better life for her 5 children. And that she did. One child is currently in law school and one is in the midst of obtaining a degree in social work. Between her 5 children, Dolorez has 8 grandchildren who spend time with her while their parents work and go to school. She volunteers weekly at a local food pantry and offers transportation to neighbors in need. Dolorez understands what it's like to rely on others for daily needs. She too uses the local food pantry in order to feed herself and her family. "I can't afford fresh vegetables and fruits, so I'm so grateful to get them through my weekly food box. Says granddaughter Naomi as her brother Max runs around carrying a loaf of bread , "If somebody falls down, we need to pick them up."



Loretta used to throw away food at meals.

"Never did I believe that I'd be in this situation. I have college background and worked for the city for over 30 years. Retirement wasn't supposed to bring this with it."

Her husband is on social security due to osteoporosis and most of their money has to go toward medical bills. Food stamps might help but their income level is $40 too high to qualify.

"If it weren't for the Ellen Torres Bienvenidos Food Bank, we'd go hungry. We'd eat beans and tortillas. I swallow my pride and take the bus at 7:00am to get here early enough to get milk. We just thank God that we have access to food assistance and that we can meet others who need help."


Brandy is being raised by a single mom. Daycare is too expensive, so her mom had to quit her job. They sold their car due to the cost of fuel and maintenance, which means they walk where they need to go. Luckily a local food pantry is close to home. Otherwise they wouldn't have enough food to get them through the week.



When you see a long line of people, you assume that there's something worthwhile at the other end. Something worth waiting for. At Holy Ghost Church downtown Denver, that something is a PB&J sandwich and a bag of cookies. And for many folks, that sandwich is definitely worth waiting for. The line-up starts at 9:30am and by the time lunch is served at 10:00, a couple hundred hungry Coloradoans are waiting for a meal they count on for daily survival. Monday through Saturday these folks line up.

Mike is the guy behind the table handing out the meals. He meets everyone's eye and refuses to be called "Sir." Mike has made it his daily mission to feed the hungry and provide them with respect. Not only are meals served, but the program through Holy Ghost Church assists with providing birth certificates, photo Id's and finances for housing. The essentials for a homeless person wanting to get back on his or her feet.

"I learn from these guys. They're real people with stories to tell and they've become friends of mine. The Bible tells me to "feed the hungry and clothe the naked." So that's what he does.