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Food for Thought

If you show up to the Colfax viaduct on Friday morning, you’ll see volunteers lined up at tables packing food for children to take home on the weekends.

“If it’s snowing wear your boots, and if it’s hot out wear your shorts,” said Bob Bell, co-founder of Food For Thought Denver.

Food For Thought Denver’s mission is simple: make sure that no child in Denver Public Schools (DPS) goes without food over the weekend.

“This just helps them with some stability not only in their house, but in their pantry,” Bell said.

Food For Thought Denver targets schools where 90 percent or more of the students are eligible for free and reduced lunch programs (income of a family of four is less than $29,000 a year). That’s close to 35,000 DPS children.

How are they reaching kids? A PowerSack. It’s 15 items of nonperishable food – from snacks to items that comprise a meal for the family – to last through the weekend. All the food is donated through a partnership with Food Bank of the Rockies. To date, Food For Thought has delivered nearly 240,000 PowerSacks.

“We put a bag for every kid. So, when we go to a school, it’s not picking and choosing amongst what kids need it and what kids don’t,” Bell said. “What we’re not about is stigmatizing a child.”

Food For Thought Denver leaders pride themselves on being volunteer-run.

“We don’t have a single paid staff,” Bell said.

Since its founding in 2012, Food For Thought Denver has grown from 500 kids to 8,200 kids. Bell’s mantra is if they take on a school, they’re never backing out of it.

“Everyone at food for thought just gives enough of their time – many hands make the load light,” Bell said.  “And this is just the truest example of that.”

Food for Thought was named the 2018 Small Nonprofit of the Year at the Chamber’s Business Awards, and the silent auction at Net90 Holiday on Dec. 20 will benefit Food for Thought.

Laura James is the senior marketing  and communications specialist for the Denver Metro Chamber.