Food bank offers a way to beat the winter blues — volunteer

Sue Ellen Rodwick

Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope based in Grand Junction offers a way to help people beat the winter blues that sometimes follow the holidays with openings for individual and group volunteers.

“With our new building, we are able to provide more volunteer opportunities and accommodate larger groups. We welcome all community members and enjoy having a diverse array of volunteers with us,” said Sue Ellen Rodwick, director of Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope. “Even if you are not in the Grand Valley, we still have volunteer opportunities with our mobile pantries across the Western Slope.”

Some people feel down or lethargic after the holiday season. Volunteering has been show to offer physical and mental benefits.

According to research shared by the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of volunteering include reduced stress, increased productivity, a sense of purpose and feeling of community. The research also found that volunteers over the age of 60 experienced lower rates of depression and anxiety along with greater life satisfaction and social connectedness.

“Volunteers are an essential pillar at Food Bank of the Rockies. We rely on volunteers to help our team pack boxes of dry goods, package fresh produce, sort through grocery rescue, distribute food at mobile pantries in the community and so much more,” said Gabriela Garayar, development manager for Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope.

Last year, volunteers donated a total of 89,000 hours. That’s the equivalent of more than 370 days.

Some companies offer benefits for their employees to volunteer, including paying employees during their volunteer hours and matching monetary donations to nonprofit organizations. Corporate volunteering offers opportunities for team building and community networking.

Volunteers for Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope must be at least 16 years old. Those between 14 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers must be able to move freely and lift up to 30 pounds.

For more information about volunteer opportunities or to schedule a group for a volunteer session, visit the website at and click on volunteer now. Additional information also is available by calling  (970) 464-1138.