DENVER (CBS4) – Hundreds of families lined up in their cars on Friday to receive free food and supplies months into the COVID-19 pandemic at the Wounderbound Campus. It’s an example of the ongoing need for Coloradans who struggle to get enough to eat.
The mobile food bank is one of many offered each month by We Don’t Waste; this event also included the assistance of the Office of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver Health.
“I’m a diabetic so I have to make sure I have food and you know and my meds,” said Sonia Wells, an Englewood resident who heard about the food bank when the mayor spoke on CBS4 This Morning on Friday. “God’s been seeing me through things, I just depend on him for everything, we just trying to make ends meet.”
In 2020, one in three families are food insecure compared to one in 11 the previous year, according to We Don’t Waste. Almost 40% of Coloradans are struggling to afford food the nonprofit reports. The figure was less than 10% a year ago.
“Once the pandemic started, we’ve seen a doubling if not a tripling of need in the communities that we serve,” said Julia Lennon, We Don’t Waste Program and Education Coordinator.
The drive-thru market started in March and the organization offers it up to eight times each month. Families receive meat, dairy, produce, as well as hygiene products. Denver Health provided flu shots on this day and staff with the mayor’s office provided Trick or Treat candy for children.
“I’ll be glad when they find a vaccine for this horrible virus that has taken so many lives, I lost my brother back in May,” Wells shared with CBS4.
Wells says she has visited the food bank before but never visited the mobile option until this Friday. She said there is a lot to deal with at once during the pandemic and these services make a difference in her life.
“A lot of these families we’ve been serving for a couple years now, so some of these families we’ve known since our farmers market,” Lennon said. “They’re just so grateful that we can continue to serve them.”
We Don’t Waste rescues food that would otherwise be thrown out from farms, catering services, and produce distributors. The food goes to pantries, homeless shelters, and directly to the public at events like the mobile drive. Lennon says people should try to reduce waste at their own home, they can help by not buying too much food. They also can always use volunteers and cash donations.
“We’re not all lucky to have a stocked fridge all the time,” she said. “So it’s super important that we exist and that we’re able to give away free food to those who need it most now more than ever.”
The next event organized by We Don’t Waste will be on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Wells said she plans to spread the word to others now that she has seen the impact it can have on families.
“That’s what I’m planning on doing, tell some friends to come on down,” Wells said.
LINK: We Don’t Waste