by Bob Bell, Food For Thought Co-Founder
One of the most commonly asked questions about the Food for Thought movement is “How do you maintain a ‘no overhead’ policy that dictates all public donations go directly to the schoolchildren we serve?”
It’s a great question. The simple answer is that our community partners (both large and small in scope) genuinely believe in our movement and all bring a critical element to the table, whether it’s a financial contribution, rolling up their sleeves and packing food on a Friday morning, or spreading the word about the impact we’re making against childhood hunger every day in the Denver Public Schools (DPS) system.
As you can imagine, moving 20,000 lbs. of food each week is a massive undertaking and potentially a deal breaker to our mission of reaching more schools.
But that’s where the magic begins!
A key employee at Deline Box, Rick Williams, catches wind of our need for trucking support to ensure our schoolkids can get the food they need for the weekend. He takes the need to his company and without hesitation, both Deline and Elite respond with the answer to our prayers.
While this might sound like a simple ask, consider this: for two years now, each and every Thursday of the DPS school year – 36 weeks to be exact – Deline and Elite (under the watchful care of Bill Metz) dispatch a 53’ semi-trailer to Food Bank of the Rockies to pick up all of the food for the 6000 kids we will serve that coming week. From there, the pallets are taken back to the Elite Warehouse where they are separated by their destination, shrink wrapped, and reloaded on a box truck that can navigate the tight delivery windows we have for our schools.
Once loaded, the truck (piloted by trusty operator, Loren) makes the rounds of delivering each pallet to the location so Friday morning packing operations are ready to commence at daybreak!
The effort is not a quick one, it’s not an easy one. It’s navigating traffic through the city, getting to all of our schools in a tight time window, and dropping 2000 pallets from a liftgate through small school doorways. It is an effort that typically lasts 6 hours each week. 6 HOURS, DEDICATED MANPOWER, TWO TRUCKS, 36 WEEKS A YEAR.
What would this cost our humble organization without companies like Deline and Elite Sourcing and Logistics? Tens of thousands of dollars! What does it cost us? ZERO DOLLARS! Because there are business people like Dave Deline and Don Rainville, because there are socially conscious and engaged companies like Deline Box and Elite Sourcing and Logistics, Food for Thought Denver gets to expand, work with more schools, reach more children, and keep our promise to each of you that every last donated penny goes only one place: the belly of a child.