No family should go hungry
Since 1976, Bienvenidos Food Bank has provided Northwest Denver individuals and families with food assistance in a safe, welcoming place. Whether it’s at our storefront market or mobile pantry, or emergency food locations at schools and at other nonprofits, Bienvenidos is an essential source of fresh, healthy food for those in need.
Each year, Bienvenidos:
- Serves nearly 10,000 people across all of Denver
- Provides enough food to make more than 300,000 meals
Through our partnerships with local grocery stores and other food providers, we are able to turn every $1 cash donation into more than $9 worth of food including fresh meat and produce!
The Bienvenidos Food Bank provides a variety of programs to serve our communities:
- Bienvenidos Pantry – An ongoing resource for those who need emergency or supplemental food, offering a variety of foods where families may “shop” for what they need. The pantry is open weekly for clients, conveniently in the morning and evening, and we make it a priority to always provide healthy choices such as fresh produce knowing that many people cannot afford to buy fresh food.
- USDA Commodities – As an authorized sub-agency of The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), we provide commodities each month. Clients must meet TEFAP requirements and provide ID and proof of address. TEFAP Nondiscrimination statement.
- SNAP (food stamps) – Clients can meet at Bienvenidos for sign-up assistance. (A collaborative program with Hunger Free Colorado.)
- Pet Food Pantry – We provide cat & dog food for clients (with existing pets in the household) during the first week of each month from 10 am to 11 am. (A collaborative program with Colorado Pet Pantry.)
- Diapers & Baby food – WeeCycle of North Denver provides diapers once a month for our clients. Please bring your baby’s birth certificate. Baby food available too.
- Personal Hygiene – Feminine products are also available. (A collaborative program with I Support the Girls International.)
- Mobile Food Pantry – We bring food directly to high-need neighborhoods once a month. This is a cost-effective way to provide greater access to food assistance for our clients; many of whom live nearby in shelters, low-income apartments and senior housing. Our current location includes the West Colfax region in Denver, which is a recognized food desert (an area lacking sources of nutritious food).
- Neighborhood Centers – Bienvenidos provides greater access for emergency food assistance through on-site assistance in local schools, nonprofit service agencies and other locations in Northwest Denver. We partner with Social Workers, Case Managers and other professionals who have every day contact with children, seniors and families in need. Clients may also receive information about our programs and referrals for other services.
- Home Grocery Delivery – Homebound seniors and disabled clients may receive balanced and easy-to-prepare food delivered to their homes twice a month by caring volunteers.
- Thanksgiving Outreach – In addition to serving our clientele, we also provide Thanksgiving baskets to residents of Clare Gardens, a Denver low-income housing development, as well as needy families affiliated with Northwest Denver Schools and our Neighborhood Centers.
- Holiday Celebration – We offer an annual holiday celebration every December. Our clients can shop for useful gifts for the whole family. Children can select gifts for their parents, create holiday crafts and meet Santa too. (This program is made possible by the generosity of St. Frances Cabrini Parish and hosted at the Holiday Theatre by Highlands Church.)
- Client volunteer program – Most of our volunteer help comes from clients themselves. We provide opportunities for clients who have received our services and want to give back. We are proud to be a community of friends and neighbors helping each other.
- Community service – As an authorized court-ordered community service site, we provide opportunities to complete service.
- Zero Waste Food Bank – Not only do we save thousands of pounds of food that would be thrown away, we compost produce that isn’t of good quality with local growers, and also recycle our cardboard and other materials. We deliver undistributed food to senior centers and homeless shelters and unusable food to pig farmers or for compost.
Bienvenidos Food Bank opened in 1976 as an outreach program of the St. Patrick Action Center to serve the growing number of struggling Northwest Denver families. The program grew under the leadership of neighborhood activist Ellen Torres, who also helped establish the Northwest Family Assistance Center. When the Action Center closed in 1998, the two organizations merged. Ellen continued to run the all-volunteer nonprofit until her death in 2001. Dedicated volunteers and friends came together and kept the program growing and thriving.
Today the Bienvenidos Food Bank has grown into a strong, independent, community-based nonprofit organization still focused on hunger relief. We acknowledge Northwest Denver continues to grow, change and gentrify, but that makes us more committed than ever to serve families who need food assistance.
Staff and volunteers
Bienvenidos is staffed by a dedicated team of volunteers (90% of our workforce is volunteer). The majority of volunteer help comes from our clients. We are proud to be a community of friends and neighbors helping each other.
Board of Directors
- Macky Bennett – Owner – Re-Arrangements LLC
- Kathleen Bohland, President – Owner – KB Communications
- Todd Daily – President – Incandescence Life Safety
- Fern Epstein – Owner – Sidebar Consulting
- Paul Mascarenas – Librarian- Regis University
- Kate Olson – Co-Owner – House Denver Real Estate
- Mel Rael, Treasurer – Teacher – Denver Public Schools
- Lexi Steinhauer – Co-Owner – House Denver Real Estate
- Kerri Stroupe – Volunteer Manager –The Action Center
We couldn’t do what we do without our many partners and supporters.
- Leprino Foods is a North Denver fixture for over 50 years. The Leprino Foundation has supported our programs and Leprino employees have participated in volunteer efforts too.
- Highland Lutheran Church: Volunteers from Highland Lutheran work at our registration desk each week and they are a drop off location for food donations.
- Highlands Church North Denver: Each Christmas we host a holiday party at the Holiday Theatre hosted by Highlands Church and their amazing community.
- Holy Family Catholic Church: They have donated food nearly every week for more than 30 years from their generous congregants.
- Generator Real Estate: Not only has Generator supported our program through donations, but employees bring hot drinks for our clients most mornings.