The mission of the Western Colorado Community Foundation (WCCF) is to connect people and organizations with causes that matter. That is exactly what happened when the Community Foundation’s executive director Anne Wenzel connected St. Mary’s Medical Center and Homeward Bound through a grant to reduce food waste and help fight hunger. The grant provided food storage containers and blast cooler equipment to kick start efforts locally.  A subsequent grant to Homeward Bound will purchase a refrigerated truck for food pick-up and deliveries.

Queue St. Mary’s Medical Center. The foundation approached Western Colorado’s regional hospital and their in-house team at Sodexo a little over a year ago. St. Mary’s readily agreed to partner by donating all of their surplus food from their cafeteria to Homeward Bound of the Grand Valley, a homeless shelter committed to helping those in need. Food is also shared with Grand Valley Catholic Outreach.

“The foundation has been exploring ways to recover food before it’s thrown out for several years. We know that 40% of food grown and produced in America is wasted, and yet we see food insecurity all around us in Western Colorado,” explains Anne. She continues, “We were thrilled when St. Mary’s agreed to partner with WCCF and Homeward Bound.”

Bryan Johnson, St. Mary’s President and CEO, is proud of the important role this program serves in Western Colorado: “This program has brought together two very mission driven organizations to help people in this community who are very vulnerable.”

Since the program’s inception, St. Mary’s reports “7,100 pounds of food were consumed instead of thrown away. This equates to 4,260 meals and $9,419.67 worth of food” which has been donated to hunger relief efforts rather than thrown in the trash, destined for the landfill.