When schools closed in March, Boulder’s thriving natural and organic food industry jumped into action to help feed BVSD’s families. Within hours of the announcement, a mini-war room had been convened with leaders from Naturally Boulder, Conscious Alliance and Fresh Ideas Group to create a plan to connect local food product companies to the school district to provide in-kind donations of food.
“The morning after it was announced that schools would close, we knew that we had a big task ahead of us,” says Ann Cooper, Director of Food Services. “We had to quickly create a new program from scratch to get food to our families. Thanks to the leaders of natural and organic food companies, we didn’t have to do it alone.”
Naturally Boulder, a non-profit that connects and supports natural products companies, created a campaign to inspire its member companies to donate food to BVSD’s emergency food distribution program. The response was massive. Within a few days, 24 companies signed up to donate large quantities of in kind food to support families who were adjusting to going without school meals. Donations have included everything from Aurora Organic Dairy milk, Bobo’s Oat Bars, to Purely Elizabeth granola. To date, more than 125,000 items have been donated and many companies have continued to contribute food to the program, which plans to continue until July 16.
One such company is Boulder Organic Foods, who has continued to regularly donate high quality, organic soup to the food distribution program. “When we heard that kids weren’t going to have access to hot lunch anymore, we knew we had to step in,” says Kate Brown, Founder of Boulder Organic Foods. “It's long been a part of our mission to make healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals for everyone. Not just people who have disposable income, but it should be available to everybody.”
Another important partner was the locally-based national non profit Conscious Alliance who connected BVSD to transportation and food resources -- including a donation from Hormel which allowed a whole spiral-sliced ham to be given out to every family just before Easter.
“We’ve always worked tirelessly to deliver great food into the hands of kiddos and families who need it most,” says Justin Levy, Executive Director of Conscious Alliance. “The pandemic hasn’t changed our commitment and dedication, but we have scaled up and adapted to meet the growing need for increased food assistance. With schools closed and students not having access to the free breakfast and lunch programs, it’s as important as ever that, as a community, we are meeting that need.”
Sylvia Tawse, the founder of Fresh Ideas Group agency and longtime organic industry advisor, connected BVSD Food Services to the partners that made this campaign possible. She also donated her services drafting messaging and outreach to companies.
“The natural and organic industry has always had a big heart, it’s just baked into what we do,” says Tawse, who is also a Senior Adviser to and Co-founder of Naturally Boulder. “We all have a mission to feed our bodies and our planet in a healthy and joyful way. This pandemic doesn’t change that and actually allows us to all work together on the things that matter most.”
BVSD would like to thank the following companies and organizations who offered to provide in kind donations to our emergency feeding program: Aurora Organic Dairy, Conscious Alliance, Rasa, Farm&Oven Snacks, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice, ONE Brands, The Toasted Oat Bakehouse, Bobo’s Oat Bars, The Good Crisp Company, Community Food Share, Pastificio Boulder, Little Secrets, The Tea Spot, Good Karma Foods, Beyond Broth, ProBar, PTP Charter, Ancient Harvest, Fossil Fuel Donuts, Organic Bliss, Boulder Organic Foods, Purely Elizabeth, Wilde Brands, Trader Joes-Boulder, Chef Soraya