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Recipe for Hope 2019: Lynne’s Speech

March 8, 2019

Lynne Telford, CEO of Care and Share Food Bank, spoke in front of a crowd of more than 1,200 people at Care and Share Food Bank’s Recipe for Hope 2019 luncheon on Thursday, March 7. She shared her vision of ending hunger in Southern Colorado. Below is her speech in its entirety.

I wish you had been with me at one of our recent drive-thru food distributions. You would have seen car after car of people who clearly needed this help. Car after car of people thanking us for the food being loaded into their cars by our staff and volunteers. So much gratitude. I saw one young girl, about eight, get really excited when she saw a small crate of milk coming her way. Her mother told her that it couldn’t all be for them. Our volunteer assured her that she could have it all and the little girl jumped with joy.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be with us today. I’m inspired and touched when I look around this room and see so many friends and partners. Thank you. You make it possible for Care and Share to reach more than 150,000 people throughout southern Colorado with the food these neighbors need to thrive. Thank you for sharing our belief that no one should go hungry.

When you leave today, I believe you will see that you are part of the solution for ending hunger. You will meet some very special people and hear their remarkable stories. They are people you help when you partner with Care and Share.

Care and Share continues to grow in our outreach and the various ways we nourish our neighbors in need. We have an engaged and passionate Board of Directors that helps us plan and oversee our growth. This year our Board led the creation of a new strategic plan that will guide us through 2023. Our strategic plan has four pillars – Feed, Nourish, Empower and Unite.
First is Feed. This may seem obvious. To accomplish our goal of feeding everyone who needs food in southern Colorado, we must understand each community and its needs. We collect data, talk with our local partners, and strategize about how to best serve each unique population. We need to feed our neighbors because far too many people are making choices about medicines, heat in their homes, and food.

Feed also means being innovative and efficient. We know that innovation and efficiency will allow us to get more food to more people.

Our second pillar is Nourish, because it is not enough to simply get any kind of food to people. We want to provide good healthy food to our neighbors in need. We have specific goals around distribution of produce and protein. These items are harder for families and individuals to access because they are more expensive than less nutritious foods, but necessary to nourish us all. We don’t believe in mandating what people should eat but we can make healthy choices easy and even fun.

Thirdly is Empower. Care and Share has an amazing network of partners and programs that help us in our work to reach neighbors struggling to put food on the table, find employment, balance budgets, and care for their children. By networking with other social service organizations throughout southern Colorado, and collaborating with other organizations and companies, we can help bring awareness about other vital services to the people we serve.

And the fourth pillar of our strategic plan is Unite, which guides our work to increase local passion to end hunger. On average, people seek help from food banks like Care and Share about for seven months. This tells us that most people are living through a temporary setback. They will get on their feet again – they just need a little help today. Think of the students at Pueblo Community College and Pikes Peak Community College. They are working hard to improve their lives and the lives of their families. Our school pantries and mobile food pantries on these campuses are helping these hard-working people stay in school.

When you think of people who are hungry, you may imagine homeless people and we do help the homeless with our partners like Springs Rescue Mission. We also help the elderly with partners like Silver key. But, the most common profile of someone who needs food from Care and Share is a single mother who is working.

The strategic plan is about moving forward in a sustainable and thoughtful way. There are challenges along the way as we implement our plan. The cost of transportation, like many of our costs, keep rising. Natural disasters have ruined some crops so that some food is very expensive to acquire or may not be available at all.

Some of our work simply can’t be planned, but we can be prepared and nimble in order to address whatever comes our way. Last summer southern Colorado was overwhelmed once again by wildfires. We were there, side by side with our partner agencies, to help with food and water. More recently we served people impacted by the government shutdown. We saw people who never had to ask for help before. Here is a note we received after one of our distributions:

To Whom it may concern,
Just wanted to extend a heart felt thanks to you and all the volunteers. We were recently affected by the government shutdown and ended up needing food. Your organization made us feel welcomed during one of the most humiliating experiences we’ve had. Thank you for your kindness and love.
Sincerely, Mike & Heather & family

I can’t predict what is next, but I can tell you that the thoughtful careful way we have grown makes us strong enough to help when needed. I can tell you that we work hard every day to make sure that every dollar donated, every volunteer hour makes a difference.

The work we do each day, wouldn’t be possible without your investment and belief in what we do. We are grateful for this community’s support of our work. Care and Share belongs to this community. You invest financially in our work, you provide food, and on almost any day if you visit our distributions centers, you will see more volunteers than staff. You collaborate with us, advocate for us, and you are our partners. Without you, your meaningful investment, none of our work happens.

So, thank you for what you and our community have helped us to accomplish and thank you for continuing to partner with us as we move into the future. Thank you for sharing our belief that no one should go hungry.