COVID-19 presented a complex crisis that challenged every element of our work. Though we faced some significant setbacks in our mission to eliminate local hunger, you helped us innovate and distribute more food to more people than ever before. Read on for a snapshot of our most challenging year yet — and where we’re headed next thanks to your support.

Every element of our operation faced unprecedented challenges:

An immediate, dramatic surge in need

  • Local food insecurity increased by an estimated 35% overall; hunger among our community’s kids jumped by an alarming 64%. 
  • Visits to our network of food pantries grew by 15%. 

Food and transportation costs skyrocketed while food donations plummeted

  • Nearly 90% of our food supply is normally donated to us; at times, food donations dropped as much as 40%.  
  • We purchased food to fill the gap, but prices increased by up to 25%, and deliveries took 4-6 times longer to reach us. 

A sharp decline in volunteer support

  • We had to limit volunteer shifts to maintain social distancing.   
  • Volunteers normally contribute the work of 19 full-time employees, yet volunteer hours declined by 40%. 

Our food distribution programs had to change abruptly to comply with social distancing

  • Feeding Families, our onsite pantry, shifted from an indoor shopping experience to a no-contact drive-through.  
  • At offsite distributions, we transitioned to pre-packed boxes of food — a more time-intensive model for our staff.  

Your support helped us meet the needs of people facing hunger. Together, we:  

Provided more food than ever before,

while innovating through new and existing partnerships to reach even more people.

And it's all thanks to you.

Here’s How We Did It:

  • We distributed over a million pounds of food each month — the highest monthly totals since we opened our doors four decades ago. 
  • We tripled our food purchases to meet elevated demand and cover rising costs. 
  • We increased total food distribution to our Partner Agency network by 25%; at times, providing as much as three times more food to agencies that faced the largest increase in need. 
  • We also donated equipment and supplies (including a delivery vehicle, electric pallet jacks, and heaters), to help expand Partner Agencies’ food distribution.
  • To increase food choice and accessibility, we adopted a menu-ordering system at our onsite pantry and implemented order-ahead options for our Elder Share program. 
  • Through a partnership with Bridge House, we offered prepared, made-from-scratch meals that are vegan and gluten-free. 
  • We hired a SNAP Outreach Coordinator to help more people sign up for SNAP (i.e. food stamps).
  • Hundreds of the people we served during this crisis were new to our programs — many of whom experienced job loss, reduced work hours, or left the workforce to care for their kids during remote learning. 
  • We provided free grocery delivery to hundreds of households with aging adults, people with disabilities, and children or adults who are immunocompromised.  
  • 60% of our program participants are Hispanic — a community that was already marginalized and whose challenges have only intensified during this crisis.
  • We donated a million pounds of produce, meat, pantry staples, and healthy snacks to Boulder Valley School District’s emergency food distributions — a 13-fold increase from what we provided pre-pandemic.   
  • We offered grocery delivery to participants who are homebound through collaborations with Via, Boulder Housing Partners, Boulder Food Rescue, and Kobu 
  • With the help of federal pandemic-relief programs, we launched pop-up drive-through food pantries as an agile solution to emerging needs.  
  • We partnered with CU Boulder to launch the university’s first permanent on-campus food pantry. 
  • We grew our staff team to keep pace with expanded operations and programming while offsetting the loss of volunteers. 
  • We expanded our warehouse space by 20% to help us move even more food out into the community. 
  • We grew and improved our truck fleet to increase deliveries to Partner Agencies as well as food donation pickups from grocery stores. 
  • We invested in facility improvements, equipment, and technology for enhanced safety and efficiency in every element of our work.  
  • Our leadership team helped connect local municipalities with human services organizations to increase collaboration across sectors and streamline communication to the community.  
  • We hosted Senator Bennet and Congressman Neguse to show them firsthand how COVID-19 has impacted local hunger and how federal hunger-relief programs are a crucial part of the solution.  
  • We are a member of Feeding America, the nationwide charity whose advocacy team protects funding for SNAP and strengthens federal programs that enable vital food donations to food banks like ours. 
Download Our Impact Report to Learn More

The stories of neighbors you helped:  

For many people in our community and our country, the pandemic was a tipping point — the push that caused them to visit a food pantry for the first time.  

Debra

Thanks to a new partnership with Via, Community Food Share was able to schedule food delivery for Debra to help her get groceries safely throughout the pandemic.

Read More
Community Food Share participant shares her experience on Vice News

Gail

Before the pandemic, Gail was working up to 75 hours per week cleaning houses. When she realized she and her family needed help, she came to Community Food Share.

Watch Video on Vice News

Tober

Tober turned to our Feeding Families pantry after his career as a local musician was put on hold. Groceries from the pantry help him save money for other critical expenses.

Read Story

With your help, we’ll continue to serve the community through ongoing trials and prepare to meet new challenges as they arise. Here’s a snapshot of our priorities in the months and years ahead:  

If you have additional questions about Community Food Share’s response to COVID-19, please contact:

Community Food Share Front Office
info@communityfoodshare.org
(303) 652-3663