Following another year of unpredictability and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels necessary to pause and reflect on the many highs and lows experienced by Food Bank of Wyoming and the communities we serve.
The sustained high need for food assistance in 2021 can be seen acutely in the numbers in this report. In fiscal year 2021, we distributed over 13 million pounds of food — a 12% increase over 2020. Several factors contributed to this rise in need, including the high unemployment rate and the increase in price for basic goods like gas and groceries.
To meet this need, we are:
All of these initiatives align with Food Bank of Wyoming’s recent rebranding. More than just a new look, our rebranding embodies our mission to ignite the power of community to nourish people facing hunger. Hardship can strike any of us at any time. And it is through the power of community — all Wyomingites, together — that we can help each other thrive.
The Food Bank of Wyoming Team
As Tribal Relations Specialist with Food Bank of Wyoming, Jacqueline White heads the Culturally Responsive Food Initiative project on Wind River Indian Reservation. There, she works with Tribal Leaders from the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes to set up mobile pantries, determine which food items are desired by residents, and ensure everyone who needs food on the reservation has access to it.
Jacqueline has already seen the impact of the program. “There is always someone stopping and thanking me,” she said. “Food access is a need, not a want, and through this project we’re able to actively meet that need.”
Culturally Responsive Food Initiative
Monte Reichenberg helped establish Moorcroft, Wyoming’s relationship with Food Bank of Wyoming in 2019, and currently volunteers at and organizes the monthly mobile pantry in his community.
“We try to make food available wherever we can,” said Monte. “During the summer, we have Totes of Hope™ at the West Texas Trail Museum, library, senior center, and police department so kids can go in during the day and tell them they want food and pick it up. We have people who pick up and deliver boxes to their neighbors in Hulett, New Haven, Aladdin, Sundance, Beulah, Alva, Osage — all of the outreaching areas.”
Since September 2020, Marcus has been driving over an hour every month to pick up boxes of food at the monthly mobile pantry in Moorcroft, Wyoming, for his family and several other people in his community. What began as a way to get meals for his immediate family quickly grew into a town-wide endeavor.
“Today I’m picking up for 18 families, but sometimes I get food for as many as 25 or 30 families,” Marcus said. “A lot of the people I pick up for are elderly, don’t have a form of transportation, or have to work during the pantry hours. I’ll either deliver the food directly to their houses or drop it off at the mercantile for them to come pick up.”
Just as the trials of 2021 were many, so were the opportunities to meet those challenges head-on. It is with this determination that we look ahead to 2022 with one mission in mind: To ignite the power of community to nourish people facing hunger.
We will do this not only by expanding our signature programs, but also by becoming an independent, Feeding America-affiliated food bank in the upcoming years. Operating as an independent food bank would help Food Bank of Wyoming cultivate deeper community ownership by concentrating solely on the needs of our fellow Wyomingites. We have always sought to provide each of our Wyoming neighbors with the nourishment they need to thrive, and as an independent organization, we believe we will be able to do this even more effectively.
We are still on the journey to Food Bank of Wyoming becoming an independent operation from Food Bank of the Rockies. In the meantime, we will continue working in partnership with them to nourish our neighbors. Just as it has in the past and will in the future, rest assured that every dollar raised in Wyoming will stay in Wyoming.
As we enter 2022, your continued support is critical in the fight against hunger. Together, we can take the next step toward ending food insecurity in Wyoming. Together, we can.