ICYMI, the DBA YLD’s Annual Roll Out the Barrels Food Drive is June 5-30! We wanted to share some stories and stats to help explain the need and reliance of people in Denver for help from Metro Caring, as well as its wider role in the community beyond the distribution of food.
Metro Caring Stories
Josh and his three kids. Josh is a single father who unexpectedly took on custody of his children when legal proceedings began against their stepfather. The children had been living in Texas with their mother, and Josh was working 60-hour weeks for an aerospace-electronics company to support them. When they moved to Colorado, he had to scale back his hours so he could take full-time care of his mentally challenged oldest daughter. Josh said he tried for a long time to go without help, but things got too tough with his reduction in income and three mouths to feed. Josh came to Metro Caring and was amazed. He received a week and a half’s worth of healthy food, assistance getting his son’s Texas birth certificate, and clothing referrals for his kids, who came to Colorado abruptly and without most of their clothes. His kids currently receive meals at school, but Josh is nervous about the summer. Thank goodness for Metro Caring.
Bob. Once a month, without fail, Carol brings her neighbor, Bob, on a Tuesday evening to shop in Metro Caring’s Fresh-Foods Market. Bob is wheelchair-bound and suffers from Cerebral Palsy. Unable to speak, he relies on his caretaker to select grocery items and prepare meals for him at home. They shop together in the market and Bob signals which food items he’d like for her to put in his grocery cart. Now, when not shopping on behalf of Bob, Carol volunteers at Metro Caring as a way to say thank you for everything the organization has done for her neighbor.
Gladys. Gladys came from another state escaping an abusive relationship. She was living most of the time in her car and jumping from motel to motel. She had a hard time finding a job or public assistance because her California driver’s license wasn’t enough proof that she was an American citizen. One morning she was eating breakfast at a church and heard about the ID assistance at Metro Caring. She was happy that Metro Caring could help with her birth certificate and ID. With this help, she was able to apply for a job, housing and public benefits.
Rose. Rose had never had to ask for help before. Despite being on a fixed income and having to raise her grandchildren. Just a couple of months ago, one of Rose’s grandsons was killed in a drive-by shooting in the middle of the day. Funeral expenses wiped out an entire month’s income. Rose had never been late on an Xcel payment, but didn’t have the money to pay her last month’s bill. A neighbor told her about Metro Caring, so she called in to the utility assistance line and requested help. Barring another disaster, Rose could manage her payments going forward. Metro Caring helped Rose keep the lights on and family comfortable.
Metro Caring Stats
The numbers are startling: 1 in 4 working households do not have enough food to meet their basic needs; 1 in 4 children in Denver will go to bed hungry tonight; 1 in 7 Coloradans experience hunger every day. What do all these numbers really mean? How does it feel and what does it look like to be hungry?
There is no single type of person that represents hunger.
- Hunger is Aida, a refugee and young mother reliant upon help from family until her husband can get proper identification and a job.
- Hunger is Fred, a homeless disabled veteran of the world’s strongest military power.
- Hunger is Charlotte, a retired nurse struggling to make ends meet on social security.
- Hunger is Harry, a father of three working a low-wage job and spending 40% of his salary on childcare.
For more than 60,000 children in Denver, summer break means no access to free or reduced meals at school. Already struggling to feed their families, parents now have to find a way to provide their kids with three meals a day. During a carefree summer, the biggest concern of children should be what game they are going to play, or which friend’s house they will go to that day. Instead, many are thinking about where or when they will eat next. Denver families need your help this summer and Metro Caring is counting on your generosity. Six out of seven (86%) low-income kids who eat free or reduced school lunches during the academic year do not receive a free meal during the summer. While nutrition is an essential component of health at all ages, it is especially important for children as they are still developing physically and mentally. Proper nutrition at an early age improves academic performance and helps fight disease. It also instills healthy habits that carry into adulthood.
Key statistics from our last fiscal year:
- Metro Caring received 2.5 million pounds of food, almost 2/3 of which was rescued and would have ended up in landfills
- 35% of the food in Metro Caring’s Fresh-Foods Market are fresh fruits and vegetables. Shoppers, on average, leave with more than a week’s worth of the most essential nutrients.
- According to an MSU Denver study, Metro Caring shoppers leave with, on average, 8.4 days’ worth of food – or the equivalent of $250 worth of groceries.
- 82% of Seeds for Success job-training program graduates have been placed in a job, with an average starting salary of $11.64, more than Colorado’s minimum wage of $9.30.
- Each week, 400 volunteers help to make Metro Caring run. In total, our volunteers are equivalent to 26 full-time staff.
- Last year, Metro Caring distributed $400,074 for people to keep their homes heated and lights on!
- Last year, Metro Caring distributed almost $23,000 ID, driver’s license, birth certificate, and out-of-state birth certificate vouchers throughout Colorado.
- $0.93 of every dollar donated to Metro Caring goes directly into programming.