“Your group has been such a blessing. The breakfasts were a life saver and the lunch/dinner combos were life savers. We always welcome the cup of noodles as those can be most helpful to get that “warm” food in their tummies. The fact that these meals are non perishable mean the WORLD to us!” – Project Manager at Supported Facility in Denver
Program Start (November 2011) To Date:
Non-Perishable Food & Take-Away Meal Program
There are places where the homeless population can go—both here in Fort Collins and throughout the state—to receive hot meals and/or perishable food items. There are fewer places, however, that distribute non-perishable, readily-consumable food and drinks. So, our goal is to provide homeless individuals with food and drink items that (a) are non-perishable, (b) supplement caloric intake and (c) can be quickly consumed. In 2014, we distributed about 45,000 non-perishable meals.
We collect items through regular food collection events at our local Sam’s Club, purchases at the local Food Bank and donations from the community. Volunteers assemble much of what we collect into takeaway meal bags, and we distribute those bags (along with miscellaneous food components) for breakfast at a local service center for the homeless (about 15,000 bags per year), through our Street Outreach program (between 5,000 and 10,000 bags per year) in Fort Collins and to about 50 organizations that serve the homeless population across the state.
You or your group, class, troop, church or business can help in one of 4 ways:
- Collect and provide component food or drink items (see list below).
- Provide cash or gift cards for us to purchase component food/ drink items.
- Provide completed ready to eat “take away meals” (see below for details).
- Deliver Take-Away Meals to facilities in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley Longmont, Boulder, or Denver.
Food & Drink Items:
Components should be:
- Able to be easily opened without mechanical devise
- Able to be eaten straight away or by adding hot water
- Non-perishable or shelf life longer than six months
- Commercially produced and packaged
- In individual sized containers
Components: Use your imagination but here are some suggestions:
Items in Red are highest need:
- Juice Boxes, Capri Suns, Bottled Water
- Granola Bars
- Breakfast Bars
- Pop Tarts/li>
- Fruit Rollups or Fruit Snacks
- Peanut Butter or Cheese Crackers
- Trail Mix
- Fruit or Pudding Cups
- Instant Soups
- Instant Mac & Cheese
You can either provide “breakfast” or “lunch/dinner” oriented Take-Away Meals.
Basic Items (All Meals)
- Plastic Sack (paper sacks work OK but plastic grocery sacks are perfect!): tie the ends to keep items from falling out.
- Disposable Spoon
- Juice Box, Water, or Capri Sun
- 2 ready to eat items (see component list)
Plus: Breakfast Take-Away Meal:
- Hot Chocolate Packet (just add water)
- Instant Oatmeal Packet (just add water)
- Disposable Bowl
Plus: Lunch/Dinner Take-Away Meal:
- Cup-A-Noodles or Tuna/Crackers (ready to eat containers)
If you would like to participate in any way (individual or group), would like to set up delivery or have questions please contact Chelsey Mandell, our Volunteer Coordinator, by phone at (970) 587-3556 or by email at Chelsey@HomelessGear.org.