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Food Bank of the Rockies needs volunteers

As the 9Cares Colorado Shares donation drive kicks off this week, volunteers for food banks are in short supply.

DENVER — The Food Bank of the Rockies relies on the work of about 18,000 volunteers, and as is happening across many industries, the food bank says it's experiencing a worker shortage.

"Volunteers!" said Selina Armendariz. "I don’t think people realize the work it takes to keep that food bank running."

Armendariz said she has volunteered for Food Bank of the Rockies for more than 20 years, starting when she was 9 years old. Her mother, Eden, is CEO of Food 4 Food at Redeeming Love Fellowship Church, located at 1201 W. 41st Ave. in the Sunnyside neighborhood in Denver.

9NEWS is partnering with Food Bank of the Rockies to help people in need with food assistance with 9Cares Colorado Shares. The food bank has seen a tremendous increase in need during the pandemic.

Donate now to 9Cares Colorado Shares

RELATED: Donate to the 9Cares Colorado Shares virtual food drive

Funds donated to Food Bank of the Rockies help provide meals for families facing hunger in 30 Colorado counties, including metro Denver, the Eastern Plains, and the Western Slope.

Some of that food goes to the biweekly distribution at Redeeming Love Fellowship Church. The pantry at the church is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday, but volunteers are busy getting ready long before that.

"We are unloading semi-truck after semi-truck, thousands of pounds," Selina Armendariz said. "We have over 100,000 pounds of food, especially for the holiday, so I definitely think that if anybody has any time to come, even if it's for two hours, it's better than no time at all."

> Click here to find a Food Bank of the Rockies pantry.

Credit: Taylor Schuss
Selina Armendariz has volunteered for Food Bank of the Rockies for more than 20 years.

Anyone who is in need can drop by and get a box of food, with no requirement except proof of identification, she said.

"It's not just for low-income families," she said. "It's for everybody."

As for volunteering, Food 4 Food is looking for people to help unload trucks, fill boxes, set up for distribution on Saturdays, assist with sign-in sheets and help clean up.

"It's not just a Saturday where we distribute food," Armendariz said. "Especially now during the holiday, it requires more time just because we are servicing more families in need."

All the food provided by the food bank is purchased through donations. Armendariz said that any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way toward keeping the food bank running, and helping to feed the next family that's in line.

"I've never had a better feeling than helping the community," she said. "And it's just the desire and the want, and it just makes me just want to go back for more, and I don’t see it ending anytime soon."

Credit: 9Cares Colorado Shares

RELATED: Local food banks overwhelmed with number of families facing food insecurity

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