24 Life On Capitol Hill
Edith Garﬁo, left, a para teacher at West High School and Paul Castorena, an eleventh grade student there, stand in the school’s food bank. They both have been volunteering with the food bank since it started earlier this year. KAILYN LAMB
back for the holidays A Giving
Organizations across Denver are looking for gift and meal donations this season By Kailyn Lamb | email@example.com
s the holiday season comes around this year, Denverites may be looking for a place to give back - whether it’s through volunteering their time or donating money. Organizations throughout the city put together food drives and volunteer efforts to provide thousands of families with meals for the holidays. At South High School, students file in to a long classroom on a Thursday afternoon. Jaclyn Yelich greets many of them by name, giving them quick hugs and asking how their families are. Volunteers chat happily with students, trying to get them to take the green tomatoes, potatoes or peppers that the food bank has in supply that week. Every week at South and West High Schools, kids line up for bags of fresh produce, boxes of pasta and other food goods. More recently, the food banks also started offering toiletries like shampoo and body wash. Between the two schools, the food banks serve hundreds of children and their
families on a weekly basis, providing meals and snacks. The holidays can put extra strain on those families, said Yelich, who started the food bank at South four years ago with her husband, Greg Thielen. Both schools have started collecting turkeys and other holiday meal items to give to students. In addition to meals, last year Yelich was able to provide 60 families with gift cards to grocery stores for food. She also collected gift cards to stores like Target and Walmart so that people could get clothes or gifts for their children. She collected enough that she was able to give $50 gift cards to around 190 children. “It makes you feel like you can make a real difference in the world,” Yelich said. “To be able to provide food and give them the dignity to shop for their own children, it feels great.” SEE DONATIONS, P25
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