The past year has been an extremely challenging time filled with increased uncertainty for nearly everyone. The growth of uncertainty has also carried over to the non-profit support sector as community need has skyrocketed while supply of valuable resources has been strained. However, despite the challenges stemming from the pandemic, individual and corporate members of the Denver community have come together to help with the fight against hunger and nutritional deficiency. In early 2021, Viably (formerly Komptech Americas) became one of many Denver-based companies to give back to its local community by providing financial corporate partnership support to Metro Caring, Colorado’s leading frontline anti-hunger organization.
Metro Caring is a non-profit organization that provides healthy and nutritious groceries and comprehensive anti-hunger resources to over 30,000 families across Denver. Their ‘Fresh Foods Market’ is a unique experience that enables shoppers to choose from a variety of nutritious foods based on their dietary needs and individual preferences. Shoppers return home with a week’s supply of healthy groceries consisting of fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean proteins.
“Food is a human right and everyone should have access to nutritious foods that are culturally relevant and truly mean something to them,” said Judith Ackerman, Metro Caring’s Senior Manager of Development. “For a long time, food assistance has just been about putting more calories on people’s plates. It’s important to provide food that people would choose to eat.”
Nearly 50 years ago, civic and faith-community leaders from around the Denver area came together to tackle a significant problem. What they saw were families, seniors and other individuals in Denver’s core going hungry and struggling to find nutritious food. By founding Central Denver Community Services, now Metro Caring, these leaders were able to channel a variety of food resources from throughout the community through a single distribution location.
Fighting Hunger Sustainably
Metro Caring sees thousands of pounds of food come through their doors each day. The organization ensures that every single food item is hand sorted and inspected by volunteers to meet the highest safety and quality standards. Their staff and volunteers are intentional in ensuring all food items that don’t meet their quality standards are not discarded as garbage but composted instead. By the end of a typical shift, volunteers at Metro Caring fill up to eight, 55-gallon compost recycling bins to the brim. That equates to roughly 800-1,000 pounds of compostable materials being recycled every single day and diverted from the landfill.
When food waste is placed in landfills, it does not have the proper environment and oxygen to decompose properly and releases methane and carbon dioxide into the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest emitter of human-related methane in the United States. Composting on the other hand, mimics nature’s method of decomposition, allowing the organic material to break down naturally with access to oxygen. As a result, composting greatly reduces the amount of waste that is sent to landfills and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
By diverting their compostable food waste from the landfills and back into the soil, Metro Caring’s composting efforts are helping decrease the methane and carbon outputs in their community. Recycling food waste to compost also goes a long way toward regenerating soils, revitalizing water sources and fostering food security into the future.
“We are proud to be a corporate partner of Metro Caring to help fight hunger in the Denver area while decreasing their environmental footprint through composting vs. landfilling of food waste.” says Hana Previte, Events and Training Experience Manager at Viably (formerly Komptech Americas) and volunteer at Metro Caring. “Working with an organization like Metro Caring is extremely rewarding for us as a company and for me personally. I am glad we can help be a part of the solution to ending hunger while maintaining environmental responsibility through composting.”
Utilizing its unique, multifaceted approach, Metro Caring has become an innovative leader in the fight against hunger in the Denver-metro area. From nutrition and cooking education to community gardening and ID procurement assistance for housing applications, Metro Caring is working hard to ensure the members of its community have the vital resources they need to survive and thrive.
For more information on Metro Caring, their mission and how to donate and volunteer, please visit their website at www.metrocaring.org.