Program donations welcomed

RANGELY I The Rio Blanco BOCES Feeding Our Future backpack program, now in its third year, has friends in quite a few places.
On Saturday, Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., one of those places will be the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce’s Shred It! event, where participants can have up to two boxes of confidential personal, legal or business documents shredded by Colorado Document Security, a professional document destruction firm out of Grand Junction. The event will take place at the Early Education Center’s west parking lot. The suggested donation for the shredding service? Single-serve items to help stock the Feeding Our Future pantries.
The backpack program sends food home with approximately 50 children in Meeker and Rangely each weekend and is sustained by donations from private individuals and local businesses. Children receive single-serve items they can easily prepare themselves, from macaroni and cheese and cereal bars to fruit cups and jerky.
Human Resource Council (HRC) president Tami Dorris said the non-profit organization has accepted tax-deductible cash donations for Feeding Our Future since the program’s inception in 2010. The HRC gives money directly to the program or uses funds to purchase discounted items through the Food Bank of the Rockies.
“Some families may not qualify for free and reduced meals for their children (at school), but a lot of them are close,” Dorris said. “So they do need that extra help on the weekends.”
Former BOCES executive director Donna Day, who started the Feeding Our Future program in 2010, said that hearing about a backpack program in Grand Junction motivated her to start something similar in Rio Blanco County.
“People were extremely receptive,” Day said. “We had people in the communities who donated monthly. Churches in Meeker donated quite a bit of food, along with the grocery store here in Rangely. I was truly amazed at the community responses in Rangely and Meeker, their willingness and excitement to participate.”
Now, nearly three years later, the program continues to serve families on a single income, parents working odd shifts who may not be home to make meals, and kids who are simply hungry.
Though the backpack program welcomes non-refrigerated, non-perishable foods in single-serve portions, it can currently use more breakfast and snack foods, including cereal bars, granola bars, fruit snacks, cookies, jerky, and crackers, than lunch items. Cash or checks and food items are equally helpful, BOCES finance director Jessica Fortunato said.
A simple application form for the program is available at the BOCES and school offices. The form requires no income verification information.