Bring non perishable food or toiletries to ALL DaVinci Institute events

Bare shelves at FISH of Broomfield are startling longtime volunteers.   Donations to the food bank are falling short of what is needed, while the demand keeps rising.  Help us support Broomfield’s FISH Food Bank by bringing non-perishables or toiletries to the Colorado Inventor Showcase on November 3, 2009.

“I was shocked when I went in (Sunday). … I’ve never seen it this low. We have empty rooms that are usually packed full,” said Karen Steele, who coordinates the Christmas food box program.

Volunteers are foraging for items on their own.

“We’re going to the store or pulling things from our own cupboards,” said Julie Massingill, acting director of FISH.

The food bank is running low on staple items, such as soup and peanut butter. Perishable items, such as bread, milk and eggs, are even more scarce.

That’s required the food bank to make substitutions, like swapping hot dog buns for loaves of bread or condensed milk for the real thing.

FISH hasn’t reached the point where it is turning people away, but they are leaving with less food, said Kelley Cook, a volunteer manager at the food bank.

Massingill blames a bad economy. More people need help, while others have had to cut back on their giving.

“There are still people giving, but not giving as much or as often,” Massingill said.

Donations from businesses, grocery stores and restaurants also are down.

Requests for help are up 67 percent from 2008, when FISH distributed more than 347,400 pounds of food. This year FISH projects it will need 580,213 pounds, but is far short of that goal, Massingill said.

Many of the requests come from first-timers who have their lost jobs.

“So many of these people have never had to use a system like this, ever,” Massingill said.

FISH distributes 15 to 20 food baskets on a typical day, but sometimes that number climbs to 30. Individuals get 35 to 40 pounds of food, while families get 80 to 100 pounds.

That food is expected to last them a month, Massingill said.

Like many food banks, FISH sees a spike in donations as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach and schools, churches and businesses start their annual food drives.

But FISH needs the donations now. FISH has called churches and service groups it works with in the hope they will launch their food drives earlier this year, and the next step is to start calling schools, Massingill said

FISH distributes 1,002 holiday baskets for Christmas and 326 baskets for Thanksgiving.

“We can’t even think about Christmas when we’re having trouble meeting daily consumption,” Steele said.

FISH of Broomfield welcomes volunteers and cash donations. People interested in helping FISH should call 303-465-1600.

In addition, FISH also needs the following food items and toiletries:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Noodles
  • Cereals
  • Chicken or vegetable soup, stews and chili
  • Peanut butter
  • Cake and pancake mix
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Disposable razors and shaving gel
  • Lotion
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouthwash
  • Diapers, baby wipes and baby lotions

Via Broomfield Enterprise