JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — If passion could feed the hungry, Barbara Moore would eliminate food insecurity all together.
"There’s a Hebrew term called 'Tikunn olam,' which means how much should you help somebody? Well, we should help people until they don’t need help anymore," Moore said to a room full of volunteers.
Moore, a former teacher, started JeffCo Eats four years ago to serve hungry kids in her county. Each week, they meet at a church in Jefferson County for what she calls the program's ICU where they intensively care for kids.
"I didn’t know there were children all around me, that didn’t have food, I didn’t know," Moore said.
The numbers are staggering. According to a recent study by Hunger Free Colorado, one in three people in Colorado is now food insecure, as the pandemic forces families to do more and more with less and less.
"I’ve been freaking out, I’ve called the mayor, I’m calling the county commissioners, I’m like, 'This is a state of emergency,'" Moore said.
She is coordinating a response. Every Friday, Moore and 40 volunteers stuff bags of food for their mobile food pantry. Twice a week, they deliver the food to schools, section 8 apartments and small pantries. It's no small feat especially in the midst of a pandemic.
"They had to really think ahead to try to continue to serve who they need, find the food and get it out because all of a sudden, everybody needed the food," said volunteer Shelley Harmon.
JeffCo Eats now serves more than 12,500 families every month. As the need grows, Barbara Moore is standing by and ready to meet it.
"We've all been stressed during this time, but to put your stuff aside and continue to serve — I find it really heartening," Harmon said.
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