The countywide effort to feed hungry children and families across Jefferson County is a collaborative effort. That’s the message from Carolyn Alexander, the senior director of operations for The …
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The countywide effort to feed hungry children and families across Jefferson County is a collaborative effort.
That’s the message from Carolyn Alexander, the senior director of operations for The Action Center, which is based in Lakewood but serves the needy countywide.
“There are 15 sites doing enhanced summer learning and we have over 10 agencies that are participating and getting free groceries out to those 15 (school) sites,” Alexander said while overseeing a morning food distribution.
She talks about the program as she moves through the parking lot of the Lakewood church where food is being boxed and separated. The food will soon be picked up from this site and driven to participating schools.
“Food Bank of the Rockies has a free food program that they’ve been enhancing over the last several months. So, non-perishable goods like soup, pasta, rice — things like that are coming from Food Bank of the Rockies as part of that program,” she says. “And the school district added $25,000 and we’ve added up to $25,000 for buying some of the food. And another agency, Jeffco Eats, added some money into it (the program) as well.”
In the boxes this day, aside from the non-perishables, recipients will find Colorado ground beef, frozen sausage, cooking oil and string cheese that had been purchased to add some protein variety to staples that are normally given out. Alexander said some weeks there will be eggs and milk as they try to enhance the typical non-perishable (rice, beans etc.) offerings. The boxes also contain fresh fruits and vegetables.
“It’s not a huge amount of food per family,” she said. “But it’s a well-rounded amount of food per family.”
The $25,000 kicked in by the District is from federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, intended to offset COVID-related deficiencies.
Alexander said she thinks there are low-income folks and people in need in every Jeffco school, when asked about a stack of food boxes headed to South Jeffco’s Leawood Elementary.
The difference between schools, she says, is the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch, noting that even schools that traditionally have smaller free and reduced populations have been affected over the past year.
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