16 million children struggle with childhood hunger in the United States. In this episode of the Digible Dudes, we talk with Bob Bell, Co-Founder of Food for Thought, an organization dedicated to fighting childhood poverty with a unique approach. He joins us to talk about the impact they’ve been creating in the Denver community and helping countless children who struggle with childhood hunger.
In Denver, many children receive free or reduced lunches at school. However, according to Food for Thought, many teachers and principals have reported that for many of these children, the lunch they receive on Friday is their last meal until they’re back at school on Monday morning. Food for Thought is dedicated to solving this issue by providing children with food bags for students to take home to their families for the weekend.
We start today’s conversation by asking Bob about the beginning of Food for thought and how it grew over the years. Bob shares with us how their Friday program works, and what their process looks like for gathering food items, along with packaging and distribution. He also shares some statistics that show the impact and the value of the work they’ve been doing, and how they connect with brands and businesses to provide food for children.
Another point we touch on is the challenges that these children from low-income families face and how these issues affect their food habits. We also talk about how Food for Thought adapted quickly to the pandemic and never missed a Friday throughout all the lockdowns.
[08:49] Story of Food for Thought – We start the conversation with a brief look at what inspires the idea behind the Food for Thought initiative and the issues they’re addressing.
[14:02] Fridays with Food for Thought – Bob talks about the weekly Friday program that provides food for underprivileged children.
[18:33] Numbers – Bob shares some numbers that describe the scale of their operation and how many children they have been able to help.
[25:25] Brands and Businesses – Bob talks about their process of partnering with businesses and brands to provide food for children.
[29:26] Cultural Issues – Bob shares some stories about some of the cultural issues related to food that they face and what they have learned from these experiences.
[34:40] Life in Motels – We asked Bob about the hardships of the surprising number of people who live in motels and the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.
[38:26] Ripple Effects of COVID – How the operations of Food for Thought drastically changed due to the closure of schools during the pandemic, and how it has impacted the initiative and the children.
[46:03] Fundraising– How the way Food for Thought has evolved over the last few years and how they’ve been able to gather the support of more entities than ever.
[52:47] Reaching Beyond Colorado – Bob dives into how the concept of Food for Thought could be implemented in other places as well.