BY JESSICA ROE
Families who have never before had to ask for help putting food on the table have an Englewood businessman to thank after he spent his time during the COVID19 stay-at-home order in search of grant money to feed the hungry.
Charlie Cockreil, President of the Englewood Lions club and founder of Cockreil Insurance, went after a grant from Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance and found out just days ago that he landed $5,000 for Integrated Family Community Services (IFCS), an Arapahoe County based food bank.
“In the past, we’ve loaded up 300-to-500 boxes of Thanksgiving dinners for them and sponsored families for Christmas,” said Cockreil, in regards to the work he and other Englewood Lions have done together for IFCS. Now, the funds Cockreil acquired for IFCS will feed those whose lives have changed dramatically in recent weeks due to the pandemic.
IFCS provides food for anyone in need and provides guidance to help the jobless get back on their feet. Since the COVID19 pandemic has left so many in Colorado jobless, the nonprofit has gone from serving 800 families a month, to 800 families a week. Given their client load has quadrupled, they are still in need of additional financial and food support.
“When hell broke loose in March we had no idea what today would even look like so we modified our service to the community,” said Sandra Blythe-Perry, Executive Director of IFCS. A full 45% of the organization’s clients in March were brand new to the organization.
Prior to the pandemic, their building had market-style shopping set up for clients. Now, to adhere to safety standards, clients make an appointment to pick up a box of weekly staples with fresh meat and vegetables.
“We were once supported by donors giving individual food staples, but with the demand and the grant funding, we now secure pallets of food from the Food Bank of the Rockies, at a much lower price than retail,” said Allison Taggart, Program Manager at IFCS. Taggert said IFCS also welcomes direct donations from food suppliers and restaurants who may have overstock goods with expiration dates in the near future. She said clients were incredibly grateful in the past week to receive chicken burgers from Redbird Farms.
Cockreil said the Englewood Lions chose IFCS as their flagship organization to support throughout the year, by volunteering for the holiday events, the organization’s annual February fine food and wine gala event, Nibbles and Sips, and several food drives throughout the year.
“In fact, the first food drive I did for them outside of a King Soopers, I was asking people to contribute to IFCS’s cause, when I had a family I approached who told me IFCS had helped them get back on their feet, and then they donated!” said Cockreil.
To make a financial donation to IFCS, you can visit their website at www.ifcs.org/donate. If you have a connection to a food distributor or a restaurant and are able to donate a mass quantity of fresh food to IFCS, contact the organization at 303-789-0501. To learn more about the Englewood Lions, reach out to Charlie Cockreil at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-910-9051.