Whether Coloradans are facing a job loss, health issue, disability or an unexpected financial challenge, food pantries play a key role in meeting the needs of those who weather these personal storms. Often serving as the “first responders,” they provide food to families and individuals in their community, helping fill a crucial gap when there’s not enough money to buy groceries.
Results from the Colorado Food Pantry Network’s Client Input Survey show an overwhelming need that food pantries are trying to address. Among those who visit food pantries, almost half report that, over a six-month period, they run out of food before the end of month at least once. One-third of food pantry clients have skipped a meal so someone else in their household could eat, and almost one-third have gone to bed hungry.
Food pantries in Colorado have the opportunity to join a statewide network and invest in improved collaboration, organizational efficiencies and collective action, so fewer people have to worry about when or where they will get their next meal.
Bring food pantries together to fight hunger in Colorado.
Food pantries, with collective power, will meet the needs of Coloradans struggling with hunger. As part of a united charitable food system, they will be stronger, more efficient and more effective in providing their services to the community.
- Partnership: We are stronger together than we are alone.
- Advocacy: We use our collective voice to create a stronger charitable food system, and we open up opportunities for the voices of the hungry themselves to be heard.
- Learning: We seek to learn about and replicate best practices, assess our work, and incorporate lessons learned into our work.
- Equity: We first focus on those experiencing hunger by listening and responding to their needs, and that guides the decisions we make.
- Hope: We inspire hope for all and support model pantries that show the path to greatness.
What You Can Expect:
The Colorado Food Pantry Network will provide training, resources and education to help food pantries improve their operations, as well as opportunities for collective action to fuel change. Specific resources include the use of the Client Input Survey and sharing best practices with incentives to implement changes.
The Network’s Creation:
The Colorado Food Pantry Network is the result of the Full Pantries, Full Lives Leadership Institute. The two-year project, which was facilitated by Hunger Free Colorado and generously funded by The Denver Foundation, launched in April 2014 to support a cohort of food pantry leaders in creating a system and experience that best serves those impacted by hunger. Comprised of eight food pantries in the Denver metro area, the Institute collectively worked towards improving governance structures for each food pantry; improving food pantry operations to better meet the need of those they serve; and fostering change through collective action
Over the course of the Leadership Institute, the thought leaders delved into a number of different topics and felt other food pantries might be interested in what they learned. To facilitate the sharing of ideas and best practices, as well as fuel change through collective action, the members of the Leadership Institute decided to create a statewide network for food pantries. The Colorado Food Pantry Network officially launched at the Hungry for Change Summit, hosted by Hunger Free Colorado, on Sept. 29, 2015.
Member benefits for participating food pantries may include:
- Core Benefits
- Communication of food pantry needs to policymakers, elected officials and other key decision-makers
- Connections to other pantries to share ideas and successful practices
- Access to the Client Input Survey and support to interpret data and make changes based on client needs
- Travel scholarships may be available for attending Network meetings
- Training and Education
- Monthly communications via newsletters and other resources, provided by the Network Manager
- Training on how to best represent the scope and impact of food pantries’ work to funders and others
- Food Resources
- Work collectively to source products as indicated by results of the Client Input Survey
- Amplified Voice
- Collective approach to develop strategy and dialogue with regional food sources to create more efficiencies and reliable sources of fresh, healthy food
- Opportunities for clients to share their own stories through venues, such as the “Hungry for Change: Day at the Capitol”
“Our [client input] survey statistics showed how much need there is in the community.
We’ve used statewide statistics previously, but they weren’t nearly as impactful.”
– Evergreen Christian Outreach
Join the Colorado Food Pantry Network! Membership is open to all food pantries in Colorado. View the brochure.
Download a membership form (fillable PDF), and make sure to save and print your completed version.
Completed forms can be returned one of three ways:
- Fax: (720) 328-1286
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mailed to:
Colorado Food Pantry Network
c/o Hunger Free Colorado
1801 N. Williams St., #200
Denver, CO 80218
Questions or ideas? Contact us via email or phone at (720) 328-1284 to find out more about the Colorado Food Pantry Network.