IFCS | A Denver Area Food Bank and More to Nourish Lives

Ready, Set, School: Littleton Elks Support Local Students

Graduations are well under way and, while students and teachers head into a much-deserved summer break, the team at IFCS is focused on preparations for the coming school year! Ready, Set, School! is an IFCS’ enrichment program that offers seasonal assistance to low-income households. This year, Ready, Set, School! will provide new backpacks full of grade-appropriate school supplies to 303 kindergarten through 8th grade school children, representing 157 families. In addition, each backpack will contain nutritious snacks, a gift card for additional supplies, and a bag of produce for the family. This program is possible through an annual drive, which pairs generous community sponsors with income-qualified students who pre-registered for school supply assistance.

Littleton Elks Support Local StudentsMany individual donors and larger corporate/community groups support IFCS’ Ready, Set, School!. The Littleton Elks of Lodge #1650 is one of these community groups, sponsoring large quantities of students each year. Tanya Apel volunteers with the Littleton Elks and is chair of their Youth Activities Committee. She has always been an advocate for youth, especially those in families who are struggling to make ends meet. Tanya told me that she grew up very poor, and it was a big deal to have good quality items, such as Crayola Crayons—the kind with a sharpener built into the back of the box! She remembers that her family couldn’t afford those luxurious crayons and now, through her volunteering, she hopes to ensure that kids in similar situations have quality school supplies.

Tanya started volunteering with the Elks Lodge in Littleton four years ago. Her grandfather was a member of the Elks Lodge, and her grandmother was a Lady Elk (or Auxiliary Member because women were only allowed membership in the 1990s). It was in Tanya’s blood to be involved with the Elks. Unlike business or social clubs, Elk Lodges are wholly dedicated to service to community and country. Formally organized in New York City in 1868, there are now more than 1.1 million members in more than 2,100 lodges nationwide.

The three pillars of focus for the Elks Lodge are: youth, veterans, and local community. Tanya’s heart for the youth was engaged when she joined the Elks in 2020. When she became Chair of the Youth Activities Committee, she searched out local nonprofits to partner with and found IFCS. When she learned how IFCS is reaching youth needing support through school supply assistance, Tanya headed up a campaign to fund as many Ready, Set, School backpacks as the Littleton Elks Lodge could manage. Last year they sponsored 46 students, providing new backpacks and school supplies!

There are various ways the Elk Lodges raise money for their service initiatives. A large portion of their contributions are raised through Bingo nights held at the Lodge. Fundraising also takes place through the Littleton Candlelight Parade, held after Thanksgiving. Tanya and other volunteers sponsor a bazaar where shoppers can purchase “giving back” items like stocking stuffers, holiday gifts, etc., and the money raised supports the initiatives of the Youth Activities Committee.

Being able to work with the Littleton Elks Lodge means a lot to Tanya. Her personal experience of hardships, related to growing up in a low-income family, motivates her and many of the other volunteer Elks. Thanks to Tanya’s leadership, Elks Lodge #1650 is a great partner with IFCS and a great support to local youth: their passion for service will be sending 33 children off to school this fall, equipped with new school supplies. Tanya has been dedicated to finding more ways to engage both the youth and adults of the Lodge in hands-on volunteer opportunities, in collaboration with IFCS as well as other local organizations. This year, in addition to their financial support of the Ready, Set, School! program, the Littleton Elks will be volunteering at IFCS’ Ready, Set, School! distribution day, when parents and caregivers of the 303 sponsored students will arrive to pick up their children’s backpacks, supplies, healthy snacks, and fresh produce for the whole family.

Thanks to the Elks Lodge #1650 Members and to Tanya, for partnering with IFCS to build a stronger community!


View photos from the most recent Ready, Set, School! Distribution Day, when student families come to IFCS to pick up school supplies and healthy snacks to start the school year off strong.


Kathryn Adams
Kathryn Adams

Kathryn Adams is a Nurse Freelance Writer who started out her career as a Firefighter EMT-B then RN and has transitioned to professional writing.  She started volunteering with IFCS in 2018 because she has a passion to help others. When she isn’t writing she enjoys hiking, yoga, skiing, and traveling. She lives with her husband, dog and kitty in the Colorado Mountains.


Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or  retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. Mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. Fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or 
  3. Email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

This statement was updated 8.3.22 in accordance with USDA updates and guidelines.

Eligibility and Income Guidelines

Anyone experiencing food insecurity and self-identifying as meeting the Income Guidelines below is eligible for IFCS Food Market services.

Income Guidelines:
As of March 1, 2023, a household may meet income-based standards in either of the following two ways:

  1. Participate in one of these public assistance programs:
    • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    • Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
    • Old Age Pension (OAP)
    • Aid to Needy Disabled (AND)
    • Aid to the Blind (AB)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Medicaid Eligible Foster Children
  1. If the household does not participate in any of the above public assistance programs, the household must meet the requirements based on the chart below, having a combined gross income not exceeding the maximum income limit for the applicable household size.

For IFCS Financial Assistance Programs (Rental and Utility Bill Payment Assistance), we have a service area of western Arapahoe (Centennial, Englewood, Glendale, Greenwood Village, Littleton, and Sheridan) and southwest Denver Neighborhoods. This includes Bear Valley, College View, Fort Logan, Harvey Park, Harvey Park South, Marston & South Platte (Southwest Neighborhoods further defined as being south of Jewell and west of Santa Fe). IFCS Rental Assistance Programs may be limited to the cities listed within Arapahoe County.

For IFCS Enrichment Programs, we have a service area covering:

  • Western Arapahoe County: Centennial, Englewood, Glendale, Greenwood Village, Littleton, Sheridan, and unincorporated Arapahoe County.
  • Southwest Denver Neighborhoods: Bear Valley, College View, Fort Logan, Harvey Park, Harvey Park South, Marston & South Platte (Southwest Neighborhoods further defined as being south of Jewell and west of Santa Fe).
  • Northern Douglas County: Highlands Ranch, Littleton, and Lone Tree.
  • Southern Jefferson County: Lakewood, Littleton, Morrison (Neighborhoods further defined as being south of Jewell and the C-470 Corridor – including Columbine, Bow Mar, Dakota Ridge, and Ken Caryl Ranch)

 Applications outside of these listed areas will not be accepted. (Central Denver, North Denver, and Aurora applications will not be accepted.)