Team from the Division of Medical Oncology, School of Medicine

The charitable Food Bank of the Rockies has been the destination for several teams of volunteers participating in this year’s Giving Back Campaign.

The Giving Back Campaign offers one-half day of work time (four hours) to go into the community and participate in a volunteer activity of their choice. Individuals may choose to use their time to participate in a volunteer activity of which they are already a part, or, to participate in a group activity with work colleagues. The program was expanded this year to include students and alumni.

An Anschutz Medical Campus-based team from the Division of Medical Oncology, School of Medicine, headed over to the Food Bank of the Rockies to lend a hand. They filed 300 boxes with food for distribution to families of at least four children in the home aged five years or younger or considered senior citizens.

Shana Spears, administrative assistant helped to facilitate the group’s effort. “It was such an awesome time to spend there with them and learn about what all goes on as well as fill the boxes,” Spears said. “Doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice on our part but does make a difference in the lives of many out in the community.”

Because the agency relies on volunteer support, Spears said, “If there are not enough boxes filled by volunteers then the boxes do not get delivered to the drop spots around the Metro area so the families in those areas do not get served until the boxes are filled by volunteers. This organization does depend entirely on volunteers to make a difference in our community.”

A team from the College of Engineering and Applied Science also answered the call Feb. 16 to help at the Food Bank. Five staff members headed over to sort and pack packaged frozen food items that had been donated from local grocery stores. From ham and ground beef to frozen entrees and ice cream, the team joined a handful of other community volunteers in packing 25-pound boxes of food to be donated to local churches, organizations and families.

“This was my first-ever volunteer activity, and I felt that it was truly a fun and worthwhile endeavor,” said Petrina Morgan. “ ‘Giving back’ actually felt more like getting something.”

“It was great to see the quality of food we were sorting and to realize that folks who are in need can still fix full, balanced meals for their families,” said Erica Lefeave, communications specialist for the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

In an effort to reduce waste, donated food that cannot be distributed is put aside and donated to a local wildlife sanctuary.

“The personal gratification that comes from knowing you are part of a larger effort to help others is very rewarding,” added Morgan. “I am looking forward to next year’s campaign.”

The COE dean’s office team included Kathryn Brocko, Erica Lefeave, Petrina Morgan, Tom Thuis and Heidi Utt.

The Giving Back Campaign wraps up Feb. 27. Anyone who has participated and not yet reported their volunteer activity is encouraged to complete the feedback form soon.

(Photo: Team from the Division of Medical Oncology, School of Medicine (l to r): Brenda Batlle, Liz Seelenfreund, Everlyn Sandoval, back row Shana Spears and Patrick Henthorn)

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