In the early 1980s, hunger had not yet been identified as a community problem. But, when Boulder County Safehouse, the Community Action Program, Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), St. Thomas Aquinas Food Bank, and the Salvation Army of Longmont came together and compared anecdotal stories and statistics, it became clear that, indeed, hunger was a pressing issue in our community. Discussion among these five agencies soon centered on how to address the issue of hunger locally, and it was determined that a food bank, modeled after Food Bank of the Rockies, would serve this purpose.
Community Food Share was created as a non-profit organization in 1981, receiving a seed grant from what is now Mile High United Way, and became an affiliate of America’s Second Harvest (now called Feeding America). Originally operating under the umbrella of Food Bank of the Rockies, Community Food Share began operations in a space at EFAA’s ECHO House Emergency Shelter. Kathy Coyne was hired as the sole staff member of this new organization. Shortly thereafter, the City of Boulder offered space, for only $1 a year, in a city-owned building on 13th Street. Immediately, Community Food Share began collecting and distributing food to 18 human service agencies in Boulder County.
Raising awareness became a top priority of this fledgling organization. Kathy Coyne began speaking to civic organizations, members of the community and really “anyone who would listen,” discussing the facts about hunger in Boulder County. Step-by-step, Kathy succeeded in engaging the community in the problem. By the end of 1981, after operating for only six months, Community Food Share had distributed 48,000 pounds of food.
In the early 1980s, food banks were still a relatively new concept across the United States and most, if not all, were located in large metropolitan areas. Due to its smaller size, Community Food Share was able to be more innovative in creating new programs to solve the issue of hunger in our community. That innovative spirit, combined with the support of our loyal volunteers, financial supporters, and food donors, has carried Community Food Share through the victories we celebrate today.
1981 — Community Food Share is founded as a non-profit organization and becomes a member food bank with America’s Second Harvest (now called Feeding America). Operates out of loaned space at EFAA’s Echo House Emergency Shelter.
1982 — Community Food Share moves to space owned by the City of Boulder on 13th Street; adds The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Gleaning Program.
1985 — The Daily Camera “Let’s Bag Hunger” Food Drive begins.
1987 — Community Food Share moves to Flatirons Park and purchases freezer and coolers.
1988 — Elder Share program launches, providing groceries to low-income seniors.
1989 — The Times-Call “Hunger Hurts the Whole Community” Food Drive begins.
1998 — Community Food Share moves into new 22,400 square foot facility near Niwot.
2000 — Executive Director Kathy Coyne retires and Jim Baldwin is hired as new CEO.
2002 — First mobile pantry is created.
2004 — Feeding Families begins.
2013 — Community Food Share moves to renovated 70,000 square foot facility in Colorado Technology Center in Louisville (we operate 55,000 square feet and lease 15,000 to another business).
2015 — CEO Jim Baldwin retires and Michelle Orge is hired as new Executive Director. The Board of Directors refines the mission statement: “To be a leader in our community’s effort to end hunger in Boulder and Broomfield Counties.” Repack room is built to take advantage of bulk food purchasing.
2016 — Community Food Share’s first “Needs Assessment” is completed, generating maps that geographically identify pockets of unmet need and reveal barriers that program participants face when accessing existing services in Boulder and Broomfield Counties.
2017 — A mobile pantry truck joins Community Food Share’s fleet. The Board of Directors and leadership staff update the mission statement: “To eliminate hunger in Boulder and Broomfield Counties through engagement, collaboration, and leadership.” They also create the first-ever vision: “A hunger-free community.”
2018 — In January, Community Food Share hits a record for monthly pounds distributed: 986,919 pounds. The food bank undergoes a rebrand, including the adoption of a new logo, and completes its first-ever strategic plan. The existing, rooftop solar array is expanded to offset Community Food Share’s energy use by 61%, making it one of the most solar-powered food banks in the country.
2019 — Executive Director Michelle Orge becomes President/CEO of Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. Kim Ruotsala takes her place as Executive Director at Community Food Share.