Integrated Family Community Services (IFCS) began in 1964 when south metro Denver resident Maida Navis noticed that some of her neighbors needed extra help. Working families were not making ends meet, neighborhood children went without necessities, and elderly residents were losing their independence.
Mrs. Navis gathered neighborhood leaders for a “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” effort, forming the original Inter-Faith Task Force for Community Services. The task force provided services designed to help struggling neighbors achieve independent living – some for the first time.
Those early leaders were determined to provide assistance that would always be a hand up rather than a handout. In 1968, IFCS was designated an “official poverty agency” of south metro Denver.
Integrated Family Community Services (IFCS) provides basic human services and enrichment programs to low-income people, using community resources. IFCS fosters self-sufficiency and respects the dignity of each client, serving the greater Denver metro area.
Through a variety of resources IFCS helps individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency. Best-known for our food market, IFCS services also nourish lives in a broader sense through financial assistance, school supplies, holiday grocery boxes, and recreation center vouchers.
Donations from businesses, individuals, community organizations, as well as grants from foundations and federal, state and local governments are IFCS’ major sources of funding. Fundraising, material and in-kind donations, and thousands of volunteer hours play an integral part in the continuation of IFCS services.
Since 1964, in collaboration with community partners, IFCS has provided an immediate response to hunger, the most basic need.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, IFCS pivoted operations to support a growing number of households with groceries and other basic needs. IFCS is a safety net to support families and children during difficult times by providing food access to those who are hungry or facing food insecurity and other issues associated with poverty.
Exponential Growth... Because of YOU!
As the graph shows, IFCS has changed drastically over recent years. When we launched our onecanfeed.org campaign in 2019, supporters responded generously to help alleviate hunger. The resulting growth positioned IFCS to become an Emergency Food Provider in 2020 when the pandemic hit. We adjusted our operations quickly to meet increasing demands for food support while adhering to safety protocols.
The years 2020-2022 revealed inequities in our neighborhoods and, even as COVID-19 has taken a backseat, food insecurity and financial emergencies continue to plague our community. Thankfully, the IFCS Food Market has become a staple of assistance for those who need it most.
- Over the past 4 years, IFCS Hunger Alleviation Services have increased by nearly 1000%
- New Program Recipients increased by over 200%
- IFCS Services Overall grew by nearly 300%
Did You Know?
- 1 in 3 Coloradans (33%) are struggling with hunger.
- More than 2 in 5 (43%) of individuals of color are now struggling to regularly access quality nutritious food.
- 1 in 6 Children (16%) are not getting adequate nutrition.
- The COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on our communities’ health, economy, and food security.
See this data and more in a Hunger Fact Sheet provided by Hunger Free Colorado.
IFCS Serves Food Deserts
IFCS’ service area includes various neighborhoods designated as “food deserts” and zip codes identified as having highest needs, as you can see by these maps.
Lack of access to healthy food options leads to a greater risk of chronic disease and poor health outcomes including diabetes and obesity. The USDA defines food deserts as low access to supermarkets or grocery stores.
The Community Needs Index measures economic and demographic data to better understand community demand for healthcare services. The index score is an average of five different scores measuring barriers to various socio-economic capital for each community at the zip code level. The darker the gradient, the higher the need.
Post-pandemic, IFCS is seeing the highest needs for food support ever in our history. Food insecurity is not decreasing, and in some cases we even see increases in the monthly numbers of visitors to our Market. Without the emergency resources provided during the pandemic, and with rising costs caused by inflation, many more are struggling with hunger.