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Food Resource Manager Plays an Integral Role at the Food Bank

Food Resource Manager for the the Food Bank for Larimer CountyIn the simplest terms, Josh Greene is responsible for getting food for the Food Bank for Larimer County to provide to families, children, and seniors in need in our community, but his role is anything but simple.

Greene grew up in Fort Collins, attending Poudre High School, and when he decided to settle down and start a family he headed back home; he now has three children and loves living here. Josh says he got into this career by accident. 

He worked in audio production, drove a truck, and then began managing a local food distribution company’s logistics and operations. When he saw a job posting for a similar role at the Food Bank for Larimer County he knew it was a perfect match of his skills and passion. At the Food Bank, Josh is the Food Resource Manager, in charge of all sourcing and transportation of food. He spends his day working to determine what the Food Bank needs, finding available food from retail partners, local farmers, and other organizations, and managing the logistics of getting it in house. 

Josh navigates partnerships with Feeding America, local retailers, and farmers, to source donated food that the Food Bank, in turn, distributes to people in need. While the food is donated, the Food Bank does have to pay transportation fees and other associated costs. However, Josh works hard to keep costs low, in fact, on average, the Food Bank pays less than $0.15 per pound for the food it distributes. Last year, the Food Bank distributed more than 9 million pounds of food through its hunger-relief programs. More than 3 million pounds of that food came from retail donors within Larimer County. An additional 25% of food was sourced from local Colorado agricultural producers and the remainder was acquired from national partnerships based on availability. Last year, the Food Bank served more than 36,000 individuals. 

When asked about his favorite part of his job, Josh said, “I like food system development. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of building a strong local food economy, working to reclaim waste and make food accessible to everyone.”

He wishes people better understood the scale at which the Food Bank operates. “There is a misconception that we are operating out of a garage and only distributing at church pantries, but it’s more than that. If people understood the scale, they would understand the need.”

Josh relayed a story of one Food Share client saying to him, “Thank you for feeding me today.” That sentiment has stuck with him to this day and he comes to work every day intending to do just that.

Watch this short video of Josh detailing the scale at which the Food Bank for Larimer County operates.

Feeding Your Child’s Brain

The beginning of another school year is just around the corner.  Now is the time to start planning how to prepare nutritious meals and snacks for your kids.  The brain requires a tremendous amount of energy to function.  Children learn best when their brains and bodies are in a nourished state. 

Read on to find tasty “brain foods” for children and the nutrients they contain.

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Need Rises in Larimer County

July 2016 was a record-breaking month for Food Bank for Larimer County. From April to June we supported 50,000 household visits, breaking a previous record set in 2012 at the end of the great recession. The number of times guests visit Food Share has also increased from 2.95 visits a month in 2010, to 3.81 visits a month in April-June 2016.

The increased need also has required increased efforts to source and redistribute more food. In 2012, we distributed around 1.5 million pounds of food in April-June. In 2016, we distributed 2.04 million pounds in the last quarter. The continued growth in service means we are reaching warehouse storage capacity and putting a greater-than-ever strain on existing resources.

The future is always uncertain, but based on State Demographers projections, we expect to see continued growth in the need for our services. By 2035, the population of Larimer County is projected to reach 450,000, while the number of individuals eligible for Food Bank programs could climb to nearly 120,000. To prepare, we are working on several new initiatives that will be announced in the coming months, including a new partnership with Volunteers of America to increase meal service and potentially fresh food access for seniors. Please keep in touch on social media and through this newsletter for the latest information.

Our vision is a hunger-free Larimer County and we hope that as the population increases we can keep up with the demand and help all people in need through innovative solutions. We hope you will join us as we continue our work to ensure no one in our community goes hungry.

Kids Cafe Volunteers

Volunteering has many faces here at Food Bank for Larimer County. Some of our volunteers choose to cook, while others sort. Some choose to grow food to donate. Others choose to help with our events. We have many spots at the Food Bank for volunteers, but by far, the most popular choice is to volunteer with Kids Cafe.
Not only do Kids Cafe Volunteers directly have a hand in making sure children can eat this summer, but they have a hand in directly influencing the future of our community. By providing children nutritious and plentiful meals we help children do better in school along with other activities and we assist in keeping children healthy and strong.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” explains Tom Inscho. “And we have a lot of fun doing it. In life, we connect the dots to many things happening in the world. In my working life and my career there were many dots, seven or eight dots, if I do this then this will happen, and so on, to where eventually something good happens. In this, it is like one dot. If I do this, kids eat today.” Inscho is part of a group of volunteers that work in the kitchen, for Kids Cafe, every Wednesday at 10am. “It’s very satisfying to know that I can do something and it turns into something good.”
“I’ve been doing this every week for three years” Cynthia Bush said “I don’t know if other groups have as much fun as us we do, but it’s great. We laugh, we play music, we catch up and we are helping children.” Bush was previously a schoolteacher and witnessed firsthand the need for Kids Cafe in the Larimer County community. Today, with her group of friends on Wednesday, she is able to support that program.
For children who are food insecure many things are more difficult than for children who have consistent and healthy food at home. Many children from food insecure households have a harder time in school due to frequent illness-related absences or the inability to focus on learning. In the summer, when free and reduced school lunches are not available, kids can go days without a meal. If parents are able to purchase food, due to income restrictions, they will often choose cheaper and less-healthy food for children, which can lead to higher rates of childhood obesity and diabetes. Our Kids Cafe provides healthy meals to help children thrive in the summer.
Volunteers like Tom and Cynthia are the hearts and hands of Kids Cafe. With their help, each year, our Kids Cafe provides over 165,000 healthy meals and snacks. Our work would not be possible without the help of our fantastic and dedicated volunteers!
To learn more about volunteering at the Food Bank, please contact BenMensch at bmensch@foodbanklarimer.org or visit our website: foodbanklarimer.org/volunteer/

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Food Waste and the Food Bank Battle

We all do it. The day the milk goes “bad” according to a “best by” label it goes down the drain and the plastic container goes in the recycle bin. It’s understandable; we have been raised to believe that label on our green beans and spinach, our canned corn and pumpkin. Yet the reality is that none of those labels are regulated or even accurately indicate if a food is safe to consume.

Most foods are still good well past the “expiration date”, even fresh foods. As Ben Mensch, the volunteer coordinator at the Food Bank for Larimer County, puts it “Milk is not going to be fresh at 11:59pm and rotten at 12:01am, it just doesn’t work that way.” The problem with the dates and labeling is that none of it is regulated by the FDA or any other government agency (except for baby formula) for the consumer to actually know what is good or bad for them to consume. These numbers don’t even relate to food freshness, but instead are meant to work as a cataloging system for retailers to know when items were stocked. In May, a bill introduced in Congress has asked for federal regulation of food labeling in an attempt to cut down on food waste and inhibit states from passing bills that limit donations to food banks.

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Corporate Food Fighters Raise Record-Breaking $160,000+ to Fight Hunger in Larimer County

The Corporate Food Fight, an fundraiser for the Food Bank for Larimer County, was a great success in 2016. Thirty businesses in Larimer County participated in the event raising a total of $161,116 and 5,678 pounds of food to fight hunger in Larimer County!

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May is Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month in the Feeding America community, which means it is a time to reflect and understand the needs of Older Americans in the United States that have food insecurity. In Colorado this issue is just as important as it is in the rest of the country and one that the Food […]

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