The picture of those who struggle with enough food and shelter in Boulder County may surprise you.
As the cost of area housing skyrockets, the number of people impacted is on the rise. Today, family budgets are heavily burdened and more fall short of meeting the basic necessities.
For starters, nearly 42,000 Boulder County residents – almost 14 percent – don’t have enough to eat.
One in five of those renting spends more than half of their income on housing. And 42 percent of the homeless are families with children.
Those struggling are single parents getting by on one income, dads who had a health emergency or a car breakdown, senior citizens whose rent has skyrocketed, or youths who can no longer live at home for reasons beyond their control.
The need for assistance programs has increased sharply.
But every year, especially during the holiday season, each of us has the opportunity to take a minute to give a helping hand to those who are in need of life basics like food and shelter. The best way to make an impact is to donate to one of the many local non-profits that provide food and shelter for those in need.
Over the next couple of weeks, the Boulder Source will highlight some of the more than 400 non-profit organizations in Boulder County. You can go ahead and pre-schedule your Colorado Gives Day – Dec. 8 – donation.
Today, we focus on institutions that provide the most basic need for people: food and shelter.
November is the month to Dine Out, Sleep Out, Shout Out to help Attention Homes support an at-risk young person, ages 12 – 24, with the food, shelter and life skills needed to change their life. As a part of Homeless & Runaway Youth Awareness Month, some local restaurants are supporting Attention Homes when you dine there – places like Gondolier, Avery Brewing and Proto’s Pizza. See the full list here and choose to dine out to help Attention Homes this month.
Thursday, Nov. 12, during Attention Homes 2015 Sleep Out event, a group of citizens will brave the weather and sleep out in the cold to get a first-hand feel for being homeless and raise money for Attention Homes. Donate to support one of these hardy participants, but hurry – the Sleep Out is tomorrow night. The event is expected to raise $100,000. See a list of participants here.
Last year, Attention Homes served over 740 youths.
Donate to Attention Homes on Colorado Gives Day. Go ahead and schedule your donation now.
Emergency Family Assistance Association – EFAA
Last year, EFAA distributed nearly 700,000 pounds of food worth more than one million dollars. With the cost of housing increasing in Boulder County, more EFAA clients are relying on the food bank to free up budget dollars for rent and other basic needs.
“For most of us, the holiday season is a time to gather with friends and family, often enjoying a wonderful meal together,” says Liz Rowland, EFAA Food Bank Manager.
During this year’s 42nd annual Holiday Food Basket program, EFAA is giving 1,000 baskets of food to families, seniors and people with disabilities in Boulder and Broomfield Counties. The baskets have enough food for a week and the ingredients to prepare favorite seasonal dishes. Louisville-based Fresca Foods, a maker of “better-for-you and the planet” foods, is helping EFAA for the ninth year to make this program possible.
This week, as a part of EFAA’s Children’s Program, a new playground is being installed at its North Carr Housing Community in Lafayette, which provides a critical refuge to 11 families as they work their way back toward self-sufficiency. EFAA provides services to about 2,300 children each year, including one-third of Boulder County children living in poverty.
Boulder County Food Banks
Boulder County food banks partner with Community Food Share to receive free food that is then redistributed to those in need.
CFS collects food and donations year-round, particularly during the annual holiday food drive, Let’s Bag Hunger, slated for Nov. 15 – 25.
Unlike most other food banks, CFS does not charge the receiving agencies a handling fee, enabling the partner agencies to focus their money and resources on programs. Food banks in the area include:
Emergency Family Assistance Association
Sister Carmen Community Center
Boulder Shelter for the Homeless
Nederland Food Pantry
Harvest of Hope
The Church of St. John the Baptist
North Metro Cares food pantry
Mental Health Partners
Donate to Community Food Share or to one of their partner agencies on Colorado Gives Day. For every dollar donated, CFS can distribute three meals.
Boulder Food Rescue
Boulder Food Rescue redistributes perishable food that isn’t appropriate for traditional food banks. The organization facilitates the sustainable redistribution of food “waste” directly from the donor to agencies that feed hungry, homeless, and low-income populations while educating communities about food justice. To date, more than one million pounds of food has been salvaged from local grocery stores using bicycles equipped with pull-behind trailers.
Most importantly, the food has been biked directly from nine participating grocery stores and a total of 30 donors to one of the more than 42 recipient sites. The one-two punch of the program is powerful: Food insecurity is alleviated for a portion of the population while fresh produce is rescued from the waste bin.
Read more about Boulder Food Rescue through our Featured Friend series where we highlighted Boulder Food Rescue for the month of October.