I was both flattered and confused when Lynne Telford, executive director of Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, insisted I come to a party the nonprofit was throwing.
Not that feeding half the state's hungry isn't worth celebrating, but I'll admit I was a little surprised to learn that Care and Share threw parties. And upon arriving last night, I was even more taken aback.
Men in tuxedos stood in the parking lot, waiting to shepherd my car through their free valet service. The delivery dock of the Care and Share warehouse had been transformed with strings of lights, tables dressed in black-and-white clothes, centerpieces of fruits and squashes, and a decadent display of hors d'oeuvres.
It was, well, fancy. Much more fancy then one would expect from a place loaded with canned green beans and easy rice. That said, the food was wonderful. Little cakes made with lemon rind and topped with a fresh berry and whipped cream were delightful. Slightly sweet crackers topped with marinated beats and mint contained layers of tastes, each one surprising and delicious.
My mouth was definitely full by the time the actual presentation started. Rich Wood spoke first, introducing the organization, and repeating a proverb, "A person who isn't hungry has a lot of problems, but a hungry person only has one problem."
Next up, Walt Glover, CFO of the United States Olympic Committee and a former board member of Care and Share. Glover talked at length about all the effort it took to raise over $8 million and put Care and Share in their current warehouse. And he noted that part of that process was "building donor capacity" — or getting more people to give regularly.
Then Telford took the stand. She had a couple surprises. First off, the food I'd been stuffing my face with was made and catered by none other than Colorado Springs School District 11. Wow. I've know about District 11's cafeteria food revolution, and I wrote about it here, but this was really out of this world. Turns out, some of the yummy stuff I was eating was the same stuff the kids can get in their school cafeteria. So. Incredibly. Jealous.
Anyway, after that little stunner, Telford went on to tell us the reason we were all there. Care and Share is launching a new program called "Harvest" for people who donate more than $1,000 a year to the organization. There's already 250 donors that fit that description, but Care and Share wants to grow their ranks. And Telford said she also wants those donors to know that they're valued.
In future years, the party I attended will be a thank-you party for Harvest members. Harvest members will also be invited to quarterly meetings with Telford to ask questions and give advice.
And now, a few more pictures from the evening: