Some of my best memories from college are the volunteer projects I got to take part in. On a whim my freshman year at the University of California-Santa Cruz, I went to a meeting for a group called PRAXIS, which got students involved in service projects. Within a couple of weeks, I was painting a soup kitchen one Saturday morning with a group of 20 other students. We then got to help prepare and serve the meals in a bright, freshly painted space. I was hooked.
I took on a leadership role in PRAXIS, and the next year planned the first alternative spring break trip for my school, where 60 students caravanned down to Tecate, Mexico, and spent a week building homes, a community center, and doing other renovation projects.
The week I spent in Tecate, far removed from anything I knew, changed me for the better and reminded me how impactful a small group of people dedicated to change can be. I continue my volunteer work today, and am grateful to all I have learned throughout my experiences.
Holidays Highlight the Need for Food
The onset of the holiday season is a wonderful opportunity to pause and give thanks. Yet for some members of our community, the turn of the seasons brings the need for food to feed their families front and center, as other living expenses like heat and clothing increase.
Food Banks Fill the Gap
Cassie Rosch, volunteer coordinator at the Food Bank for Larimer County, shared with me that the need for emergency food rose 30 percent in 2010, and continues to be on the rise. The Food Bank for Larimer County provides almost 70,000 meals to low-income children per year, and serves about 13,000 people per month. Any person living at 185 percent of the poverty guidelines qualifies to receive food assistance. With proof of residency (as available) in Larimer County, people can receive food at sites in Fort Collins or Loveland.
Their biggest need? Protein-heavy foods like peanut butter and canned tuna. Money is a huge help as well, with every $1 that is donated, people in Larimer County are provided with 4 nutritious meals.
If you are interested in volunteering for this great organization, you first need to fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire. You can also email Cassie with any questions you may have.
Can You Help?
Food Bank for Larimer County is one of many local organizations that helps fight hunger in our area, and a small donation goes a long way. The need in our Front Range communities is continuing to grow, and a number of wonderful agencies and organizations need help throughout the year, but especially in the winter months.
With even a $3 donation, you could provide three nutritious meals to a family of four who desperately needs them. Here is a list of food banks looking for donations and volunteers or see other organizations and agencies that help fight hunger throughout the state of Colorado.
Where do you volunteer and help others in need?