For Colorado Springs Food Rescue, a nonprofit that began at Colorado College with the simple idea of redistributing uneaten food to the hungry, expansion is proving inevitable and demanding.
With a front-page article in the Gazette and over 100 volunteers, far exceeding what is needed based on the current donor pool, Colorado Springs Food Rescue has received recognition and interest throughout both the Colorado College campus and the greater Colorado Springs community.
“The idea of creating a network to connect good food that would otherwise be thrown away with the people who need it is both simple and brilliant,” said President Jill Tiefenthaler, who recently awarded the Food Rescue a personal donation.
The mission of this nonprofit, organized and run almost entirely by students, is to have volunteers redistribute businesses’ unused perishable food directly to organizations that address hunger in low-income groups.
Their sustainable practices of using almost entirely bicycle transportation have proven to be a low-cost business model. With their growing popularity, expansion possibilities are extensive.
However, this capacity for expansion is currently stalled by the members’ limited time to dedicate to Food Rescue, as they are all still full-time students.
Two of the students in charge of Colorado Springs Food Rescue, Shane Lory and Meredith Bird, recently presented at the Big Idea final pitch competition, requesting funds to hire a full-time employee.
They were awarded third place and received $5,000, a fraction of what is considered a suitable salary for a full-time employee. President Tiefenthaler unexpectedly approached them after the award ceremony and personally awarded them a significant donation of her own.
“I was inspired by the presentation by the Colorado Springs Food Rescue,” Tiefenthaler said. ”I grew up on a farm in Iowa, and in my family, wasting food was a no-no.”
With this donation, they are closer to their current goal of hiring a full-time employee by the end of the summer.
“We have around 75 percent of our fundraising done for our minimum funding required by August,” said John Orrell, a co-founder of Colorado Springs Food Rescue.
According to Orrell, they need to raise at least $10 thousand for the salary. However, the Food Rescue aims to exceed this, hoping for closer to anywhere from $20 thousand to $30 thousand in order to pay their employee more than minimum wage.
They have clear goals toward expansion, hoping to add 15 new donors and more events, but according to Bird, “We need someone to do this full time.”
Colorado Springs Food Rescue currently redistributes one thousand pounds of food per month. Their counterpart, Boulder Food Rescue, redistributes closer to 300 thousand pounds of food per month, a goal that Colorado Springs Food Rescue is currently working towards.
Despite current setbacks, Colorado Springs Food Rescue maintains hope for the future and continues to expand and thrive in the community, even on a small budget and hectic schedules.
If you wish to get involved, Colorado Springs Food Rescue is currently asking for donations to meet their August goal and searching for volunteers who will be residing in Colorado Springs this summer.
Those interested in getting involved can contact Andy Post at Andy.Post@coloradocollege.edu.