Greetings BFR community, our team here at Boulder Food Rescue has been closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation of COVID-19 as it affects communities across the U.S. We’d like to provide you with some updates of actions we’re taking and how you can help us mobilize.
July 2, 2020
May 8, 2020
written by: guest blogger, Zoe Larkins
As many of us have read by now, the safety measures being taken to stem the spread of COVID-19 are impacting all aspects of food production and consumption in the US and around the world. Farmers are destroying excess crops, grocery store shelves are unevenly stocked, and food banks are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars over their budgets to try to keep up with increased demand for their inventory. Most concerning of all, of course, is the fact that millions of people are suffering from more extreme food insecurity or experiencing it for the first time.
At a time when the flaws in our food system are being exacerbated and laid bare, Boulder Food Rescue’s mission is more critical than ever. We are proud that our simple, well-honed model for rescuing food from landfills and delivering directly to people in need has us on the front lines of the tragedy caused by COVID-19. In the midst of an almost constant stream of frustrating and heartbreaking news about how this crisis is affecting people and our planet, Boulder Food Rescue has a lot of positive and hopeful things to report. We want to make sure you know how much you, as volunteers and donors, are doing to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic on our community.
An increase in volunteers
We have seen a major uptick in volunteer involvement. Typically, there are between 14 and 18 regular weekly shifts in need of a volunteer. Right now, there is only one regular shift that isn’t accounted for. And this is after new shifts were added to the schedule to accommodate new donations!
A quick response
In the wake of Colorado’s school closures and Governor Polis’s announcement of the statewide stay-at-home order, BFR responded quickly to new donations, making sure as little food as possible was wasted. When restaurants that had to close or reduce their hours got in touch to offer us perishable ingredients they couldn’t use, we coordinated new pick-ups. In support of Boulder Valley School District’s efforts to continue to feed students who participate in the free and reduced-cost lunch program and their families, BFR has helped to deliver the food bags BVSD is putting together to No Cost Grocery Programs.
Fresh food: more important and scarcer than ever
In the past week, there have been new reports about the correlation between general wellness and susceptibility to COVID-19. Especially in children, obesity has been linked to increased risk of contracting the virus. Access to fresh, nutrient-rich produce has always been essential to good health, but it is even more important now.
Right now, BFR’s focus on rescuing produce sets it apart from many organizations that provide food to those in need. Because of the simultaneous decrease in donations and increase in demand that food banks are experiencing, many have reported that they aren’t able to donate fresh produce to the food pantries they supply or the individuals who come to them directly. This means that the produce that BFR volunteers deliver is more valuable than ever.
We are so proud of the work that we are doing, and we are grateful to each of you who has signed up for a shift, donated food, or contributed to our operating costs at this critical moment.
If you’d like to volunteer, please get in touch!
April 2, 2020
We have been doing community-led resiliency work for a long time – the current crisis only exemplifies why this work is so important. As things progress, we expect our work of going into communities to distribute food will be more and more necessary. The infrastructure we have in place already allows us to bring food to people who are immobile and/or cannot afford to stock up on food while in weeks or months of quarantine.
Throughout this pandemic crisis, we have witnessed our diverse and unique community band together in mutual aid. Our team has adapted to the crisis by changing logistics to include higher sanitization and hygiene precautions, as well as no-contact food drops between courier volunteers and grocery program coordinators.
Community leaders create their own food access programs and distribute the food amongst themselves. These people already know who needs the food most, who is most vulnerable, and how to get food to them. Furthermore, these community leaders are ready to change the programming to be as safe as possible. When asked to take on extra responsibilities to bag food ahead of time, in order to have quick and safe distribution, they were ready.
We’ve been in coordination with public health officials and have been encouraged to continue delivering food to our No Cost Grocery Programs. When folks will not be able to go out to access other services, they will be able to access this healthy food in their communities. We care deeply about our community and will continue to serve the most vulnerable populations in the safest way possible.
While our team is monitoring and preparing, we continue to work towards ensuring that all community members feel honored, welcomed, and protected. We have encouraged all community members and BFR volunteers and staff, both in and outside of BFR activities, to practice important health and safety precautions, which is always important to keep us all well. Each individual and each community is able to assess their own risk and notify us of their needs. We have always ensured safe food practices and will continue to do so as we prioritize this crucial work.