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Golden Backpack Program, Inc.

Help feed Golden's hungry children! We provide these children with weekend food during the school year, summer lunches from our mobile food pantry, and access to fresh food from the Fresh Food Co-op all year long. Kids who have full tummies are better equipped to learn and thrive.

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School Year Program

Class

Food, Agriculture & Nutrition 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations
Children (4-12 years)
Families
Infants/Young Children (birth - 3 years)

Description

The School Year Program provides hungry kids from ten schools in the Golden area with weekend food. Sacks of shelf-stable food contains nine items: 2 breakfast items (e.g., oatmeal or Carnation Instant Breakfast packets), 2 lunch entrees (e.g., one 5 ounce can of tuna, one packet of mac-n-cheese), one 15 ounce can of vegetables (e.g., green beans, corn), one 15 ounce can of fruit (e.g., peaches, pears), and 3 snacks (e.g., microwave popcorn, cheese crackers filled with peanut butter, granola bar).

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Since we began this work in 2008, we have served over 500,000 meals through the end of the 2017 calendar year to hungry kids in ten Golden schools. Our 2017 summer lunch program expanded from one to three locations, one within Mountainside Estates and two more sites within Golden Terrace with all locations being identified as areas of high-need by USDA through their mapping of "areas of eligibility." Finally, with the launch of the "fresh food co-op," our experience shows that 59 families participated with the weekly food sack program. With the "fresh food co-op," we have 63 registered families of which 24 are regular weekly shoppers. Also eight families have volunteered the minimum 4 hours in the co-op and received a waiter on their next month's access fee of $10. We also know that when kids/families no long need the food support, they withdraw generally with a thank-you letter.

Summer Lunch Program

Class

Food, Agriculture & Nutrition 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Children (4-12 years)
Infants/Young Children (birth - 3 years)

Description

Our summer lunch program began in 2013 after the donation and transformation of a half-size "beer bus" into our mobile food pantry, the Snack-n-Wagon. Our summer lunch program operation is defined by the requirements of our Federal-funding source, which requires that summer lunch sites be drawn from populations that are low-income and who have high Free/Reduced Lunch rates. Specifically, Federal funding for "Summer Food Service Program" comes from the USDA to the State of Colorado through a block grant. Funds to support summer lunches are further distributed through school systems and independent sites. In 2017 we continued serving summer lunches at Mountainside Estates and at two locations within Golden Terrace for children 18 years and younger. Our site sponsor is a Colorado and Texas based nonprofit, EqualHeart, through which we will receive food from Michael's Catering. Because of this financial arrangement, we currently have no direct food costs for our summer lunch program. We have minimal costs associated with replacing toys each year and no costs associated with our free book program because individuals throughout the Golden community generously donate books, toys, and games.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

As we developed our program, we learned through focus groups with parents that they would be more inclined to allow their children to come to our summer lunch sites if there is something other than lunch. The tag line of "Summer Lunch Happens on a Full Stomach" was born and guided our program development to provide kids with games, toys, activities, and books while offering yummy, nutritious lunches. Since 2013, the eligible sites have changed based on geographic socio-economics, varying from one site to the current three sites over time. We have served 6,508 lunches from the summers of 2013-2017.

Fresh Food Co-op

Class

Food, Agriculture & Nutrition 

Beneficiaries

At-Risk Populations
Children (4-12 years)
Families
Infants/Young Children (birth - 3 years)
Single Parents

Description

In late January 2017, the GBP launched a pilot project to deliver fresh food to the low-income kids/families at Pleasant View Elementary School, a Title I school. (NOTE: Title I schools are those with 65% or more students that qualify for Federal Lunch Programs.) The Fresh Food Co-op (FFC) has provided a large variety of fresh food to the kids/families from the GBP partnership with the Action Center's "food co-op" program which shares "edge food" from Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Trader Joe's. It includes fresh produce and fruit, dairy (milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese), prepared items (e.g., spinach/ricotta stuffed Portobello mushroom caps, flat-bread pizzas, healthy salad wraps), and some shelf-stable food (e.g., whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, whole grain crackers, and dried fruit). (NOTE: "Edge food" is both fresh produce and prepared foods that no
longer meet the stringent store standards while maintaining nutritious properties. Those food products that no longer meet the needs of the FFC are shared with a local farmer for his animals or throw in the trash.

Here is a short summary of our experience to date:
The Golden Backpack Program's Fresh Food Co-op at Pleasant View's (FFC) began its "soft opening" on January 30, 2017, using our existing 49 square foot double-door reach-in refrigerator and shelving. A similar size freezer and additional shelving was donated by the Action Center. Through April 7, 2017, we operated for 9 weeks. Prior to the FFC opening, we had 59 families participating in the weekly food sack program. Since opening the FFC, we have 63 registered pantry members of which 24 are regular weekly shoppers. Eight families have volunteered the minimum 4 hours in the pantry and received a waiver on their next month's pantry fee. Our largest family served is 10 members (adult and children) and the smallest is 2 (adult and children). Specifically, each family unit is allowed to select their "shopping" date/time whereby the shopper(s) are guided by volunteers through a personal selection process for three day's worth of food. Their decisions are guided by a template that has been designed for their specific family size and guided by the principles of the MyPlate concept of the USDA. Finally, if there is remaining food by Friday, all members of the FFC are invited to come back and take whatever is left during "Free Friday" so that all food ends up with families instead of going to waste and having to be composted.

Our guiding principles are:
• Healthier food choices for families
• Open to all PVE families regardless of income
• Convenient and varied hours to shop and volunteer
• Collaborating with community
• Promoting empowerment through volunteerism
• Membership builds ownership

With closure of Pleasant View Elementary School in May 2017, the GBP found a new home for the FFC with space donated bi the congregation of New Hope Community Church in Pleasant View area. (NOTE: Pleasant View is a geographic area with a high degree of food insecurity as evidenced by the Title I designation of Pleasant View Elementary School and further supported by Food and Nutrition Service "area eligibility" maps.)

The move of the FFC was on May 18, 2017, to our new location at New Hope Community Church at 9th and Salvia. At the new location, the program was officially opened in June 2018 and was operated and stabilized during the summer serving kids/families formerly with Pleasant View Elementary School. During the fall, the option for access to the FFC was given to those kids/families of Shelton E.S., Kyffin E.S., and Welchester E.S., that were the three schools for the former Pleasant View kids/families.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

From June through December 2017, we operated the Fresh Food Co-op and delivered 29,157 meals to kids and their families from Shelton E.S., Kyffin E.S., and Welchester E.S. We averaged between 3,000 and 4,000 meals per month to member families. Our largest family served is 10 members (adult and children) and the smallest is 2 (adult and children). Specifically, each family is allowed to shop once from Monday-Thursday for three days of food for their family, guided by the MyPlate concept of USDA's healthy eating. On "Free Friday" every week, the families may return and take as much fresh food (fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, and cheese) after which the remaining fruits and vegetables are picked up by a local farmer and the rest is thrown away. Over time, interest in participated in the FFC is growing!

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