By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) –  Xcel Energy’s Day of Service will be three days this year, and the project with Colorado Feeding Kids will actually be four days. Each day a limited number of volunteers will come together donning masks and socially distanced to pack thousands of meals. Colorado Feeding Kids provides those meals to nonprofit organizations who distribute them throughout  the state.

Traditionally, the meal packing project is one of the most popular during Day of Service. In years past, hundreds of people would put together hundreds of thousands of meals in just a few hours. Even during the pandemic, volunteers showed up to get the job done.

“I love this project because it makes such a big difference,” Laura Roberts, an Xcel Energy employee, said during the 2020 project.

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John Gallegos sees that impact every day. Before the pandemic, Gallegos’s Metro Ministries was providing grocery bags of food to about 1,500 families. At the height of the pandemic, his volunteers were serving about 6,000 families a month.

“We didn’t know at first what we were going to do,” Gallegos told CBS4.

Metro Ministries had always distributed it’s grocery bags through the schools. When the schools closed, they had to come up with a new model.

“A lot of the residents we serve, they don’t have gas money to go to a food pantry, and so we decided to take the food pantry to them,” Gallegos explained.

Volunteers fill up a truck every day, and take it out to under-served communities. Family meal packs from Colorado Feeding Kids go a long way.

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“These contain approximately 18 meals,” Gallegos said as he opened a meal pack.

So when volunteers put on their masks to pack meals, they are literally touching people’s lives.

“It seems like you’re really not having a big impact just doing the same routine over and over, but when you get to see what I see, they are literally impacting people’s lives,” Gallegos said.

LINK: Sign up for Day of Service

Xcel Energy’s Day of Service runs from September 9th to September 11th. There are in-person projects like Colorado Feeding Kids. But, if you don’t feel comfortable volunteering in-person, you can also take the Good Energy Pledge, which encourages you to put your good energy to work in your own community.

LINK: Take the Good Energy Pledge

Libby Smith