Feeding a Community
One out of six people struggle with hunger in the United States -- many more are facing food insecurities with limited or uncertain access to food. Roughly 41 million Americans are forced to choose between rent,
utilities, transportation, medicine or filling their refrigerator every year. Furthermore,
households are faced with the demeaning task of choosing between food for themselves
or food for their children or elderly parents. Many cannot afford childcare or
full-time care for their parents and are forced to stay home unemployed,
straining funds even more.
Meanwhile, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council, 40% of food produced in the United States is wasted, an illogical disparity that gravely effects the overall welfare of our entire country.
City Harvest, a local Volunteers of America Colorado initiative, tries to combat these statistics by preventing good food from going to waste. Dubbed a “food bank for other non-profit food banks,” it distributes food to other organizations that feed families around the city of Denver.
City Harvest partners with arc Thrift Stores, King Soopers, Safeway, Sprouts, We Don’t Waste, and most recently, Izzo Bakery from the Denver Central Market, among others in the effort to support a healthy local community. Annually, we reach 50,000+ individuals in the Denver Metro area -- largely through the help of hard-working volunteers.
According to FeedingAmerica.org, of the 41 million Americans facing hunger, 13 million are children and roughly 6 million are seniors. City Harvest aims to diminish those numbers by helping supply 57 different active food banks throughout the Metro and Colorado Springs areas. They regularly collect overstock from grocery stores, including “ugly” or bruised produce that cannot be sold in stores. This allows families to afford fresh produce-- something that does not often fit into the budget.
Andrew Wilson, manager of City Harvest, Volunteer of America’s Meals on Wheels Program, and Volunteers of America’s Handyman program, has seen firsthand how this initiative positively impacts the neighborhood. “People within the community need to know, this is a resource at their disposal. They need to know what’s available,” Wilson explains.
People of all different backgrounds can serve, receive or participate in City Harvest. The program is always looking for volunteers.
When asked what people can do to help right now, Andrew responds, “Ask people around you, your neighbors who are frail, if you could help them with anything. Anyone can give up their time and kindness, something that affects the immediate community. We need to be helping our community on a common level.”