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:
Providedmore foodthan ever before,
while innovating through new and existing partnershipsto reach even more people.
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.
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:
Continue to meet the increasing need, especially among underserved groups and disproportionately affected populations, while investigating new solutions to expand food access in Boulder and Broomfield Counties.
We’ll invest in an online ordering system for Feeding Families.
To reach more people, we’ll focus on how to best serve working families who may face barriers to traditional food assistance programs.
To source even more local, fresh produce, we’ll broaden our Garden Share program’s growing initiatives.
We’ll diversify and grow our food purchasing program to address the cultural and dietary needs and preferences of those we serve.
To understand and address barriers to local food access, we’ll work with our new team of community liaisons.
We’llexpand home delivery to aging adults and participants who are homebound.
Educate the community to share information, reach people who need our support for the first time, and destigmatize seeking food support
Update our strategic plan to further address systemic issues in our communities
Align with policy issues that catalyze a movement against hunger in our communities and preserve hunger-relief programming
We’ll remain engaged with our elected officials to encourage advancement of key legislation and the protection of programs like SNAP and The Emergency Food Assistance Program.
Feeding Colorado, an association of the five Feeding America food banks in Colorado, including Community Food Share, hired an advocacy expert to develop and implement public policy priorities statewide.
If you have additional questions about Community Food Share’s response to COVID-19, please contact: