With the holiday season upon upon us, many of us are content to happily expand our waistlines, while baking colorful Christmas cookies, basting the turkey, and decorating the house with lights.
But this season is not so joyous and gluttonous for others. Those without homes know this to be the start of lines around the block for shelters, frigid nights spent out in the Colorado cold, and wishing for a pair of socks without holes to keep feet warm and dry.
Thinking about the fortunate lives that we live, while so many are struggling to make ends meet can be guilt-inducing. It helps to give back in some way — big or small — but often we are not sure exactly how to do that.
Recently, Naturally Boulder, a nonprofit organization that serves the Colorado natural products industry led by Board President Carlotta Mast, Managing Director Arron Mansika, with Board of Directors members Jen Swift and Alex Rumman, who are at the helm of the organization’s monthly networking nights, along with key Boulder County nonprofits, put on a stirring event to honor the outstanding nonprofit organizations who try to make lives of the unfortunate more fortunate every day, but especially around the holidays.
The event was held at acclaimed Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place, owned by triplets Jill, Jessica and Jennifer Emich, an inspiring venue which fosters community spirit and promotes health through organic foods, award-winning beer, and hand-crafted potions.
The evening was aimed at demonstrating ways natural food companies and community members can help feed the needy and reduce food waste — starting in Boulder County. If you are looking for your do-good deed for the season, pick from one of these amazing organizations, and know that you did your part to better someone else’s life.
Nonprofit organizations like Community Food Share serving Boulder and Broomfield Counties, an indispensable “food matchmaker,” which collects large and small donations of food, plans to distribute over 9.3 million meals this year, working with 43 partner nonprofit agencies. You can donate food, dollars, or your time, by clicking here.
The Boulder Food Rescue team addresses the critical issue of food waste: across the nation, over 40% of all edible food goes to waste in the U.S. while 1 in 6 people goes hungry every day. Through their innovative model, they collect the unused food from restaurants and grocery stores and deliver it by bike to food banks and homeless shelters in Boulder. You can make a tangible impact during your bike commute by volunteering here.
The goal of Emergency Family Assistance Association, or EFAA, is to help low-income and vulnerable families become financially self-sufficient by providing them with essential needs including food, financial assistance, housing, and resources. EFAA offers these families — many of which have household incomes under $14K per year — a chance to transition out of crisis into stability, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty. You can help out by donating, becoming a corporate partner, or getting involved.
Conscious Alliance supports communities in crisis through national hunger relief and youth empowerment, and has provided over two million meals to communities across the U.S. by organizing “Art That Feeds” Food Drives at concerts and music events. Currently, they are offering programming and emergency hunger relief to Pine Ridge Reservation where there is extreme poverty. Here are many ways you can take action.
One in four children is malnourished in Colorado, largely because low-income families spend over 75% of their monthly income on rent and very little left over the survive off of. That’s where No Kid Hungry Colorado comes into the picture. They aim to educate parents and families about ways to budget and maximize nutrition from the food they can afford. If you would like to help NKHC financially or with your time, click here.
Local natural food companies like Boulder Organic Foods and Good Spread are centrally addressing food insecurity, poverty, and malnutrition as part of their business models. In the case of Good Spread, they donate a portion of their profits to Mana Nutrition, a social enterprise that produces and distributes ready-to-use therapeutic food for starving children across the world. Boulder Organic Food gives 2% of their soup to Community Food Share and other Boulder-based nonprofits.
The reality is, there will always be someone hungry, cold, or alone during the holiday season, and as much as we would like to, we can’t help everybody. However, as you and your family enjoy that perfectly glazed ham alongside a cheery holiday spread, be sure to spend time volunteering with EFAA, donate much-needed food to Community Food Share, or choose to buy Good Spread peanut butter instead of Jiffy, and know that if we all pitch in, the world will be a much happier and fuller place — thanks to you.