By Joel Hillan
DENVER (CBS4)– When CBS4 first introduced the organization Food for Thought two years ago, they served four schools, now they serve 18; delivering bags of food to 5,600 students.
The growth of the program forced co-founders John Thielen and Bob Bell to move the operation from an alley behind the Spring Hill Suites on the Auraria Campus to under the Colfax viaduct.
More than 100 volunteers filled bags with food that were dropped off at schools like Valverde Elementary.
“Parents are thankful, kids are more ready to learn because they’re eating, they’re more prepared, brains are ready and everything’s good,” said Delia Meza, a first grade teacher at Valverde.
Valverde Elementary Principal Drew Schutz already sees a difference in the kids.
“I feel like because of this program our students are better prepared to come to school and be ready to learn,” said Schultz.
“I like the candied corn and the spiced candies,” said first grader Gracia. “I’m not hungry.”
Every Friday Bob Bell personally thanks the volunteers and reminds them why they are here.
“Somebody said ‘Look, this thing is going down on the weekend and these kids aren’t eating and the last meal they get is on Friday and they come back to school Monday and they haven’t had anything to eat.’ Well, good luck hearing that and not trying to do something about it, right?”
Bins, tables, bags, fuel and storage containers they use were all donated. No overhead means every dollar they receive goes directly to buying food for kids.
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“What you learn is how good people are to the core,” said Bell.
Food for Thought is always looking for volunteers and others who would like to donate.