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

Starting “from Scratch” in 1964

Today I went undercover to discover some of the secret ingredients behind the successful food bank of Integrated Family Community Services Market. As some of you know, I live up in the mountains near Monarch Ski Resort so Todd McPherson (Development Director) gave me a virtual tour around The Market via his mobile phone. It was fun to be able to see all that was going on. Please come along with me!

Walking to the entryway it appears just like any other corner grocery including a farmers market stall set up outside. There are people coming on foot from the neighborhood and others came in vehicles. They are culturally diverse, coming from many different backgrounds. There are parents and children, single adults and seniors. Everyone I saw looked happy to be here and there is no judgement or shame for whatever reason they are here. Some come due to loss of a job, or worries about making housing payments, or perhaps a medical emergency is taking more money from their food budget.

Some of the people are first timers to the Market. Some are regular customers that have disabilities and some of the government programs they relied upon have been cut so they heard about the food bank of IFCS through neighbors or had a referral. In Colorado half a million people experience food insecurity. IFCS is providing the needed nourishment so they can live a healthier life. This has been the mission since starting in 1964 as the little food bank that could!

It’s a busy place here at the Market, there are people doing all kinds of different jobs, and it feels like in the background there is a conductor who is orchestrating it all. Going on here is a very well organized food bank with people passionate about the local community and reaching the need for people to be nourished. Being a nurse, I know good nutrition is the key to a healthy lifestyle. I am passionate about the work being done here and it fills my heart to the brim to see it happening.

The Market is set up just like a grocery store with shelves of canned goods and non-perishables. There are many refrigerated cases with all kinds of meat, dairy, and eggs. Fresh produce of all different kinds are on shelves. Spices needed for cooking, personal hygiene items, diapers and lots of other items. There are shelves for the homeless or those who live in their cars who have no place to cook. They can come away with a bag of healthy snacks that don’t need cooking.

Todd shared with me that sometimes there are groups of women (perhaps sisters) who shop together. Sometimes there will be a child with them who can help translate. Evidently, last week was cinnamon day. Everyone wanted cinnamon. I was curious what recipes might have it for a meat marinade. I thought I would share with you one that I found on the Web that sounded delicious! Of course you could use it with any kind of meat, I just prefer lamb!

Lamb Kabob Marinade
1/2 onion grated
3 garlic cloves minced
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 t. Cumin
1/2 t. Paprika
1/2 t. Cinnamon
Salt and pepper

Mix marinade together in bowl and place meat inside
Let sit overnight for best flavor. Grill

Health benefits are in all those ingredients;

✅ Onion and Garlic – Boosts the immune system and beneficial for your heart.
✅ Cumin – Reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.
✅ Cinnamon – Has anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower your risk of disease.

Stay tuned for my next visit to the Market at IFCS where I will be finding out how all this is possible!



https://communityfoodshare.org (August 2023)

https://webmd.com (September 2022)

https://healthline.com (October 2022)


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.)