Produce health equity with Denver neighborhoods.
Denver Food Rescue began as a project of Boulder Food Rescue in 2012. For the first two years of operation, DFR used the basic structure of our partner in Boulder, Colorado and applied it in Denver. In 2014 we decided to work to adapt the model to Denver and become more independent in order to serve the needs of our specific communities more effectively.
In late 2014, we signed a chapter charter with the group-exempt nonprofit Boudler Food Rescue, which allowed us to establish our own autonomous 501(c)3, EIN, and nonprofit status. At that point we assembled our board of directors, adopted our bylaws, and incorporated as a new organization. We are currently associated to Boulder Food Rescue and many other Food Rescue chapters across the country through the Food Rescue Alliance, which serves as a platform for peer learning and resource sharing.
Some food systems mapping research in 2014 led us to notice that the same Denver neighborhoods lacking sufficient access to healthy grocery stores (often called food deserts) also lack emergency food assistance like food banks, and food pantries. These same neighborhoods are Denver's most low income, so traveling to access healthy food is very difficult for residents. We began meeting with residents of these neighborhoods who confirmed our research. We thought, "Why not just bring food directly to those who need it, and allow them to distribute it out among themselves?" The program that would embody this question would come to be known as a No Cost Grocery Program, resident-led, hyperlocal free food distribution paired with cooking and nutrition education, and other resources. There are currently 16 of these programs across the Denver Metro Area and they are currently growing fast and with much community support.
People look out for each other here. You don't get this kind of treatment at traditional food pantries, the same sense of community, or the healthy food. - Sun Valley NCGP participant
Ricardo Flores Magon Academy:
"It is hard to sum up my experience with the No Cost Grocery Program. It seems like words fall short when describing something so powerful. It is simply amazing to be a part of a program that provides families with the basic need of food. While watching parents faces, you can almost see the burden of worry being lifted off their faces. Not only does this program provide food, it also provides community. Families gathered around the tables of food, talking and sharing part of their lives with one another. I am very grateful to be apart of the very powerful No Cost Grocery Program that DFR offers."
First Grade Teacher
Sister Gardens at Aria:
"This program is changing lives. I have watched as our community comes together around food. I am a farmer, and I am passionate about people having access to food. This partnership with Denver Food Rescue has created a beautiful bridge between our farm neighbors and even the food that is being grown here at Sister Gardens. We host a pay what you can farm stand and the attendance from the Grocery Program has increased attendance to our farm stand. Folks have come out during the holidays, the camaraderie is amazing, volunteers came out with hot cocoa for recipients at the Christmas distribution and one participant even brought knitted hats as gifts that she has made herself."
"Mostly from what I have heard is many community members are saving money by coming to this program and this helps them with their budget, especially when the struggle is real with very little jobs during the winter and having children at home - this program helps them a lot. Also the cooking part is interesting to see what you could make with different fruits and veggies and combine everything - it's simple! The community is very grateful and would happily utilize even more food donated weekly."
Clayton Early Learning:
"The No Cost Grocery program has greatly impacted families served by Clayton Early Learning. Most of our families struggle with food insecurity and have a lack of access to fresh and healthy food options. The No Cost Grocery Program has provided these families with a reliable source to access healthy foods. This program has also exposed families and their children to foods they would not have had an opportunity to try. While working the distribution table, I have seen families connect by sharing different recipes or methods to prepare different fruits and vegetables. The No Cost Grocery Program is an excellent community partnership for Clayton Early Learning."
"Partnering with Denver Food Rescue has helped us to ensure that refugees in the Denver area have access to fresh, healthful foods. The consistent work of DFR and its volunteers has helped make the transition out of food insecurity possible for hundreds of families working to rebuild their lives in America."
Director of Operations