This issue of the Denver VOICE includes a special pullout guide to volunteering in Denver, compiled by Metro Volunteers. If you are looking for an opportunity to give back to your community but aren’t sure where to start, this guide is for you. From arts and culture to hunger and homelessness, the volunteer guide highlights dozens of opportunities to give back across the metro area.
It probably won’t surprise you to read that a nonprofit like the VOICE depends on a team of dedicated volunteers—which includes an incredible volunteer board of directors. It might surprise you, however, to learn that many of our vendors also volunteer their time. On page six, you’ll find essays by two VOICE vendors who volunteer. Vendor Jon Lonardo never gave volunteering much consideration before he became homeless, but after volunteering at Samaritan House, he learned that he likes helping others. And through volunteering, vendor Ann Bitela learned that she had more strength and endurance than she previously thought.
Our local feature in this issue examines what nutrition looks like when access to healthy food is limited. Many VOICE vendors subsist on a combination of shelter meals, convenience store food, fast food, and microwave meals. Of these food sources, the shelter meals are often the healthiest—but many people experiencing homelessness and poverty can’t make it to more than one shelter meal a day, and have to supplement their diets with less healthy options.
The organizations around Denver that provide free meals do great work—at shelters, kitchen staff balance donations from individuals, churches, businesses, and food banks to provide the best meals possible for those they serve. Procuring fresh fruits and vegetables for these meals can be a challenge, however.
On page four, we profile two organizations that help meet this challenge. Both We Don’t Waste and Denver Food Rescue “rescue” fresh produce from restaurants, catering services, grocery stores, and farms, and redistribute that produce to area nonprofits. And like the organizations they serve, We Don’t Waste and Denver Food Rescue need volunteers to help them fulfill their missions—in fact, Denver Food Rescue happens to be listed in that handy pullout volunteer guide that starts after page six. ■
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