The Action Center was the hub for 12 other food pantries to collect their share of more than 90,000 pounds of frozen food on Wednesday, May 22.
Working with Elephant Talk — a local nonprofit obtains food from grocery stores and markets and delivers it to local pantries for free — volunteers and staff at the center helped pantries like the Arvada Community Food Bank, Denver Rescue Mission and Metro CareRing stock up on frozen food including blueberries, potatoes and bacon.
“The importance of days like this is on multiple levels,” said Mag Strittmatter, executive director for the center. “Elephant Talk is a wonderful provider of food for an entire network of pantries, and this is a demonstration of how collaboration is for all of us.”
Randy Harris, Elephant Talk co-founder with his wife Sandy Sommers, founded the organization about five years ago, after they both saw a need for children and families who don’t get enough food.
“We use big commercial refrigerated trucks, and are the primary supplier to many of the largest pantries in the metro area,” Harris said. “We deliver about 50 to 80 tons of food a week, and we’ve spent about a half million dollars from our own pockets into the organization.”
Elephant Talk has built up relationships with wholesalers and grocery stores to obtain the food they need.
According to Harris, a lot of the food Elephant Talk donates is dairy, produce and meats, which he said were severely lacking in most food donations.
As cars from various food pantries rolled up to the Action Center, workers were able to pick out which items they needed, and create pallets full of food. Then volunteers helped them load up.
Not all volunteers helping were with the Action Center, however.
Teacher Tony Hughes and several of senior students from McLain High School were on hand to help build and load pallets for organizations.
This kind of participation reinforces Strittmatter’s opinion of the day.
“There is a whole tapestry of pantries and organizations willing to help, and all of this allows us to facilitate events like this so we can share the food,” she said. “This is a happy, happy day for everyone.”
For more information on the Action Center, visit www.theactioncenterco.org and for information on Elephant Talk, visit www.elephanttalk.org.