Denver nonprofit delivers emergency food kits to residents amid pandemic
DENVER (KDVR) – A Denver nonprofit organization got a big shout out from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis during one of his COVID-19 news conferences this week.
“I want to highlight a couple examples of positivity. The Growhaus in Denver is a source of fresh food, using staff from the community. When COVID-19 hit, they got a huge increase in households looking for food. They mobilized team, started packing and delivering emergency food kits,” Polis said.
The Growhaus in Denver started 10 years ago, serving the Elyria-Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods.
“We first started in this neighborhood with a vision of creating an oasis of hope and health and food and growth in the middle of industrial food desert. We are working to ensure lasting access to healthy food in these neighborhoods through food access and food education. These neighborhoods are so much more impacted than the rest of Denver by food insecurity and we’ve really seen that even more dramatically in the COVID crisis,” Executive Director Kayla Birdsong said.
They serve more than 500 families right now, which is about 2,500 individuals.
In the past three months, they estimate they have delivered enough food to make more than 135,000 meals.
“Just in the first couple weeks of the crisis we started receiving notes on our door from neighbors saying they didn’t have any more food, where were they going to go, how are they going to get food,” Birdsong said.
At the same time, The Growhaus was dealing with structural issues which prevented them from using part of their building.
“Now we are shifting and adapting like the rest of the world. We rose up and started a program really quickly to get food out to our community at no cost, so we are delivering boxes of produce, fresh food and dry goods pantry items to any family in our area who signs up,” Birdsong said.
People like Dina Soria are thankful for the help.
“Every Monday, my family received a food box and that’s how my family is able to have food on the table now. I am deeply grateful for these services. Right now, I don’t have a job, I lost my job. The only person supporting the house is my son. With his income, there is no way we can survive with six people including myself and three grand-kids,” Soria said.
The Growhaus has no plans of slowing down, even during the most challenging times because the community is counting on them.
“I am deeply grateful because the team is risking their lives to continue to do this service,” Soria said.
The Growhaus receives food from partners like Denver Food Rescue and We Don’t Waste.
They also received a $25,000 grant from the COVID-19 relief fund. If you are interested in helping, more information is here.