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Food Bank of the Rockies distributes 'culturally responsive foods' ahead of the holidays

One of the goals of this phase of the food bank's initiative is to distribute more than 1 million pounds of culturally responsive foods by June 2022.

AURORA, Colo. — As cars lined up across the street from Hinkley High School Tuesday, Tvhonke Harjo, the school's family and community liaison, made sure cars didn't overflow the parking lot. 

"I think every distribution is a unique distribution for us, regardless of it being the holiday season or it being an everyday kind of thing," she said. 

Often times, she works with Food Bank of the Rockies volunteers to distribute food at the school. 

"This year, I still wanted to show a very strong presence based upon what has happened here in our community that we're still here to serve our community for this holiday season. Knowing that our family is up upwards of 140 families are going to be needing food for this week and the next two weeks," Harjo said. 

On Tuesday, the food bank continued their initiative of giving out "culturally responsive" boxes of food. The idea is to provide ingredients for a meal that fits a family's culture, while also having a meal for Thanksgiving and the holiday season. 

Credit: Luis de Leon
Volunteers with Food Bank of the Rockies work to fill boxes with food outside of Hinkley High School Tuesday.

"I'm sure we'll probably have some tortillas and we'll have some dry beans and some rice. We always have some type of spaghetti or noodles for families that don't eat rice," Harjo said. "So I'm very excited to see that we have a full truck today for our families. I think they're going to be overwhelmed with the generosity of the food bank today."

And some families were, like Amalia Parra, an Aurora resident who was picking up a box of food for her family. 

“Because if it weren't for them, right now in these times of the pandemic and everything, I don't know what we would do," she told 9NEWS in Spanish. “It is for the good of us and I thank all these people who help us a lot.”

The distribution happened in the parking lot of Hinkley High School, which recently is where a shooting happened injuring three teenagers. 

Some families were worried that the distribution would not happen because of the recent shooting, but Harjo said it wasn't stopping them from helping their neighbors. 

"I can honestly say I've already had families reach out and I've talked with community members in our line who thought we were not going to be here today due to what's happened. But, like I said, my passion is making sure our families are getting the resources and they know that their strength is here for them," she said. 

The initiative to give out culturally responsive food is currently in it's second phase, which is expanding the program to all 53 counties in Food Bank of the Rockies' service network. 

The goal of this phase is to distribute more than 1 million pounds of culturally responsive foods by June 2022.


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