(Contest Nominee) Arvada Community Food Bank Gives a Hand-Up to Families Working to be Self-Sufficient

Arvada Community Food Bank is one of seven nonprofits nominated in Citywide Banks CHARITY HAND-UP CONTEST taking place on Facebook from November 2-22, 2015. The public is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. $8,000 in cash donations will be split between the charities based on the voting results. CLICK HERE for voting page.

The Arvada Community Food Bank (ACFB) goes beyond simply providing food to hungry families. Its programs also impact communities outside Arvada’s geographic boundaries.  Although the group has outgrown its name, as well as several facility locations in its 33 years, its mission remains the same.

“Our mission is to make sure that people in our community that are underserved have an opportunity to receive support and have resources to help lift themselves up,” says ACFB Development Manager Randy Weinert.

ACFB is one of seven Colorado nonprofits nominated in the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place November 2-22, 2015.

The ACFB was formed in 1982 by five church groups that wanted to collaborate to take care of needy and vulnerable families in their communities. It quickly gained the support of city and county governments, businesses, civic groups, and others. With the help of over 300 volunteers and continuing support of private, corporate, religious and government entities, the nonprofit now serves a large segment of Northern Jefferson County.

While maintaining the food pantry service and other emergency food programs, ACFB introduced a self-sufficiency program two years ago called Bridges to Opportunity. It provides client assistance with signing up for public benefits (e.g. food stamps, Medicaid), searching for a job, enhancing computer skills, and tutoring for a GED. So far the program has helped 1,000 people in just two years.

“We believe that people are coming through our doors because they have needs that are not met. Sometimes those needs are very simple, like they’re living from paycheck to paycheck and need a little help to move forward.  Other situations require more complicated solutions,” explained Weinert.

Bridges to Opportunity was originally created to help clients sign up for food stamps, now know as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), in order to receive additional food to what the ACFB supplies them. Then it was expanded with services to help these clients get out of the cycle of poverty and government assistance.

“We’ve added this whole layer of trying to help people lift themselves up by giving them tools and skills to advance their employability,” explains Weinert.

Their food bank, called the Client Choice Food Program, serves as a model program for other food banks across Colorado. Clients are assigned points based on the number of people in their household. The point system is also tied into the USDA Dietary Guidelines so a certain number of points are allotted for things like protein, vegetables, fruit, etc. Clients are then free to shop for the foods they want with their points, as if they were in a grocery store. Clients visit 12 times per year and take home enough food for about a week.

Their Feeding the Future Backpack Program provides food for children at area elementary schools where the percentage of low income families is high and at Jefferson County Head Start locations. They serve approximately 1,700 children in 17 different locations, with a number of schools on the waiting list.

Their Mobile Food Pantry provides food to two locations every month. One is a low-income mobile home park and the other is a government subsidized housing complex for seniors. This program makes it easier for clients who may not be able to get to their food pantry regularly to receive the provisions they need.

Weinert says that they don’t just focus on quantity of food, but quality as well. “Our clients tell us we’re the best food bank in the city. We take a lot of pride in the quality of food we offer and also in the customer service we provide.”

Because they get so much support from the local community, they have a very strong regular volunteer crew. However, Weinert says, they often need volunteers with special skills like graphic design, writing, fundraising and other professional attributes. But financial donations or food donations are always needed. You can also always check their website for “urgently needed items.”

In order to ensure that they’re serving healthy, high quality food, they spend a great deal of their financial resources on things like fresh milk, eggs, and protein, and other fresh items that people don’t normally drop off.

If ACFB Receives Most Votes in Contest
A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would go toward buying fresh food items such as milk and eggs or would cover the cost of food for about 42 children for a school year in their Feeding the Future program.

For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.ArvadaCFB.org  or follow ACFB on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Arvada-Community-Food-Bank.

How to Give ACFB a Hand-Up

  1. VOTE FOR IT on contest voting page at Citywide Banks Facebook page
  2. POST A COMMENT about it on the Citywide Banks Facebook page
  3. SHARE posts about this contest with your family, friends, and coworkers
  4. “LIKE” ACFB’s Facebook Page (the charity nominee with biggest % increase in Facebook followers during contest will receive an extra $500 donation from Citywide Banks)

How to Cast Your Vote – November 2-22, 2015
The contest is open to the general public within Colorado (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to submit a vote/entry online. One vote/entry per person is permitted during the 21-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity. There is even an added bonus prize drawing for those voters that post the contest on their own Facebook timeline.

About the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contests
Citywide Banks is a 52-year-old, family operated, Colorado focused business bank that is passionate about supporting Colorado charities. Through our Charity Hand-Up Contests, seven Colorado causes are nominated by our employees to be showcased through social media and in our branches. Then, we ask the community to vote on Facebook for their favorite. Based on final vote standings, Citywide Banks splits $8,000 in donations. The charity with the most votes receives the top $5,000 donation. Contest voters can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at a top Denver restaurant. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. More contest details are at CitywideBanks.com/contest/.



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