First, I need to thank ARC Thrift Stores. I know this post might be confusing, but hang on; I will get to my point. Each year ARC Thrift organizes a food drive to benefit Volunteers of America called “Feed Colorado.” The process starts in the ARC call center, where employees, either “Jane” or “James,” make calls to people who have registered to donate to ARC. The callers remind the donors of their scheduled pick up and also ask the donors to set out some canned food for the food drive. As the ARC drivers make their rounds through Colorado, they pick up the item donations and the food.
This drive continues through the month of April and each year ARC sets a new, higher goal. One year it was 140 tons of food, then 150, and higher and higher it goes. ARC sorts the food, packs the food, and holds it until the Volunteers of America City Harvest Food Bank is ready to distribute it to those in need.
City Harvest is a small food bank, in the comparative sense. It’s not the behemoth that is Food Bank of the Rockies, but it does supply smaller organizations with emergency food, seniors with weekend food boxes, and thousands of Volunteers of America clients with food boxes to survive. City Harvest is the type of food bank that picks up the prices when things fall apart, always there to step in a fill the gap between paychecks or when times are tough.
City Harvest feeds veterans and their families who are enrolled in our “Back Home” program to stop chronic veteran homelessness. Whenever a veteran and their family are rehoused, one of their first stops is at City Harvest to get a box of food. Food that came to Volunteers of America through the ARC Thrift Feed Colorado drove. We are able to make sure these families are moving into a house with enough to eat until they can afford it on their own; we are able to feed an immigrant family living above a liquor store with nothing to eat; we are able to provide the next meal for a single, elderly lady who cannot afford to grocery shop because she has to pay for her medications.
City Harvest could not exist without the Feed Colorado drive and the donation from ARC. It is a tremendous gift, one that we can never repay, and one that is very special to us. Working with ARC Thrift is much more than working with a community partner or business. We are happily working together to help our community and this drive speaks volumes for working together to accomplish more.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Volunteers of America Colorado Branch