We recently crunched the numbers of Growing Home Food Pantry visits in 2019 and the results blew us away. Throughout the past year, there were 1,433 unduplicated families representing 6,845 unduplicated individuals, and 3,665 of those individuals were children. We saw these families across the span of 4,402 visits, during which time they received food to prepare 192,690 meals, which is the equivalent of feeding 45 families of four for an entire year. This does not include the various snacks that were distributed to these families as well. And to top of these staggering numbers, we saw 545 new families in the Food Pantry in 2019 and we only expect those numbers to continue to rise throughout 2020. Luckily, we brought in tons (literally) of food to fill the bags of the rising numbers of families visiting our Food Pantry. We are still in the process of calculating 2019 totals, but know that our food rescue program through the Food Bank of the Rockies alone brought in more than 193,394 pounds of perishable goods from a total of 12 different stores. And that’s not including all of the individual donations we receive and the food pickups we do from Food Bank of the Rockies. Despite this support, we can always use additional donations. If you would like to donate, check out our list of our most needed items.
While we are glad to be a resource to those in our community who need assistance, the fact that we are seeing a rise in those who need our help is concerning. There are many complex and multifaceted factors at play that lead people to our Food Pantry including the quality of the Growing Home food pantry offerings, the changing Colorado economy, and federal and state legislation. One piece of legislation that has come forward recently is called Public Charge. It is a proposed rule change that will impact many of the families that are already involved with Growing Home, but will also lead many more to our Food Pantry. This paired with another federal rule change impacting who can receive SNAP benefits (more commonly known as food stamps) may continue to increase the needs of the families in our community. Rules that impact food insecurity are constantly changing and we try to keep an eye on them to anticipate any potential increase in need in the Food Pantry. We will be following these rules through the federal legislature while also tracking new, similar rules as the Colorado legislative session begins. If you would like to help us alleviate the needs of our community, you can make a monetary donation, donate supplies to our food pantry, host a food drive, and much more. Please contact Miranda Graul, Chief Development Officer, to find out more about how you can help Growing Home.