Hello! Today I am revisiting IFCS’ fresh food Market and would like to tell you more about what is happening here.
Going behind the scenes, I was able to see things that aren’t visible to the public: there’s a lot to be excited about! During Todd McPherson’s video tour of the Market at IFCS (which I shared about in my previous blog post), I saw numerous improvements underway.
There were air purifiers in the building, donated for basic dust and allergen filtering. These are a nice amenity when doors are open in the Market and when there is not enough air circulation upstairs. This healthful donation was made by Colorado State University and the Colorado Department of Environmental Health, and is allowing the program participants, volunteers, and staff to breath cleaner air in the building.
The IFCS community room was used recently for assembling donations of school supplies for the Ready, Set, School program. Student sponsors throughout the community provided backpacks for kids as they started the new school year last month. Lots of organizing happened in this room!
This enrichment program reminds me of when I was little and we used to fill shoe boxes with all kinds of personal care items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, small sizes of shampoo, soap, and other items of care. We also would put in little notes to the person who might receive these shoe boxes. They were shipped across the ocean. As a little girl, this experience taught me to see past my own self and I acquired a love for other countries and people who were there. My mother was instrumental in teaching me to think of others, and I can see that a lot of the people involved at IFCS have developed similar ways of thinking: they are invested in strengthening this community resource.
There are more than a few projects happening to improve both the property and the 50+ year old building. IFCS is approaching its 60th anniversary and has a lot of plans for streamlining services in the community – from making delivery truck spaces that won’t interfere with the scheduled times for participants to shop, to enlarging the parking lot and repainting the entire building.
There are renovations under way inside the Market too, making the space more workable for an indoor, market of choice – a shopping experience where income qualified participants can select the food items that they will use and know how to cook. All the building improvements are made possible through the generosity of private funders, as well as donated materials and services from corporate partners.
As you can see, many collaborators help IFCS with day-to-day operations and help IFCS make improvements that ultimately allow the services to reach more people. That’s essential, especially now, because more and more people are needing the support of IFCS. The Market Impact graph featured atop this blog entry shows that this summer, IFCS has seen more first-time visitors to the Market than they did a year ago, when records were breaking. With continued inflation and winter on its way, participant numbers are expected to grow. The staff is working hard to keep up with the demand, but funding is sporadic, making for ongoing challenge. It’s the support of the community that keeps things moving forward.
I am so amazed at the volunteers who come in and keep everything working at The Market @ IFCS. They’re restocking food and registering new visitors, helping them navigate the shopping experience, all with a happy heart – even if they have to use hand gestures to bridge language differences. It gives me a good feeling. In my next blog post, I am going to do a spotlight on one of IFCS’ corporate partners, so we can dive more deeply into why supporters want to collaborate with IFCS. Stay tuned!
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.