CBS4 News is featuring a special series of reports this holiday season called the 12 Days of Christmas. The following story is reported on by CBS4’s Jim Benemann.
DENVER (CBS4) – Mondays are special for Kristi Foshee. Special because it’s the day this mother of three picks up healthy food, food she couldn’t otherwise afford.
“Fresh fruit is expensive,” Foshee said. “Fresh vegetables are expensive and we can’t afford it on our budget.”
But on this day, it’s free, thanks to people like market owner Matt Tafoya and the bicycle crew of Denver Food Rescue.
It’s 34 degrees and Meghan Holcomb and Lauren Zell are gearing up to rescue produce that would otherwise end up in dumpsters.
“I moved here not long ago and learned about Denver Food Rescue,” said Holcomb, “and decided right away it’s something I want to belong to.”
The idea is simple and incredibly effective. DFR has more than 60 volunteer cyclists who pedal to several markets gathering produce that’s 100 percent healthy but just about to get tossed by the stores.
Then it’s delivered to low-income neighborhoods. Tafoya runs Mountain Fresh Market in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood.
“It’s so good for the community because in some areas people don’t have enough sources for local produce and the chance to eat healthy,” Tofoya said. “And giving it to the people who need the product feels amazing.”
CU graduate Turner Wyatt started DFR three years ago.
“Being small is one of our biggest assets,” he explained, “because we can afford with this low overhead, bicycle based model to do direct hyper-local and immediate distribution.”
Small overhead means big results. Denver Food Rescue through its community partners will provide 200,000 pounds of fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods this year.
It’s a godsend for people like Foshee.
“It’s so nice to get stuff like whole grains and healthy food that I know my kids are healthy with what they eat. It’s a blessing.”
And the pedal patrol is a great way to get the word out. Lauren Zell says those carts get attention on the streets.
“I’ve had three or four people come up to me and ask me how to get involved. That’s really cool.”
You can get involved with Denver Food Rescue at denverfoodrescue.org.