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VOA ECEC Food Distribution Fridays

They answered the call. There seems to be nothing a dedicated team of early childhood educators cannot accomplish. When the “Stay at home orders” closed the Volunteers of America Early Childhood Education Center, a place of learning, play, growth, discovery, and safety for young children, also a place of refuge, security, safety, support, community and resources for families in an already complicated world, the Family Service Workers rallied. While many efforts have been made to reach and support families through phone, desk, front porch visits, YouTube videos, online classrooms, education kits, and lending libraries, the Friday Drive-Thru distribution has proven to become one of the most relied upon services for the entire community. The team reached out to longtime partners such as Volunteers of America’s City Harvest and We Don’t Waste to provide weekly food distribution to the families of the Early Childhood Education Center. As weekly distributions grew and increased need was identified throughout the entire Westwood community, Volunteers of America Early Childhood Education Center opened its Friday Drive-Thru Distribution to the entire Westwood community. Word spread and Friday, April 10th culminated in one of the most collaborative partnerships to date.

Sonja Davis of UNFI, www.unfi.com, collaborated with Phil Robertson of JBL Logistics to donate and deliver four pallets of food. We Don’t Waste provided six pallets of food. Volunteers of America, City Harvest provided three pallets of food, Volunteers of America, Allison DeLozier provided a van to transport food, and Kristen Baluyot, of The Salvation Army, Intermountain Division provided hundreds of toys- to create both food and fun distribution to the families of the Westwood community.

Families began to line up at noon. Distribution began at 1:00 pm and after over 150+ families were served, all supplies were depleted by 2:30pm.

Each week the team meets on Monday am to confirm resources, donation and create a weekly logistics and strategy plan for the upcoming Friday Drive-Thru Distribution. It is a heavy physical lift for the entire team, as everyone loads, unloads, sorts, carries and distributes massive amounts, turning preschool classrooms into sorting sites and the playground into a distribution area. It’s an epic weekly undertaking and this past week would have been impossible without the generous donations of City Harvest, Phil Robertson, The Salvation Army, UNFI, Volunteers of America, and We Don’t Waste. The City and County of Denver’s, Denver Great Kids Head Start recognized the Early Childhood Education Centers' efforts by providing a catered lunch to the team.