Driving up to the New Hope Church parking lot, I spot Kevin Andrezejewski, Executive Director of BGoldN, handing out turkeys, hams, pies, bags of fresh produce, flowers and Christmas trees to those in need at their Thanksgiving “Dignity Tuesday” event.
With rising food costs today, BGoldN has seen a 30 percent increase in families at their food pantry. BGoldN provides nutritional foods for low-income families and works with local schools to help with children’s nutritional needs in Golden, Colorado.the bees.
Kevin got his MBA in non-profit management and spent 12 years with Engineers Without Borders working internationally managing and putting projects together all over the world. Those jobs included water, sanitation, and agricultural projects. He was in Africa when COVID struck. The non-profit he was working for took a hit, and Kevin decided to work locally for BGoldN.
When asked what the draw was to BGoldN, Andrew says, “I’ve always been interested in food insecurity. In my early twenties, I had to utilize a food panty myself. When I found out about BGoldN’s mission about supporting neighbors with fresh and local food, it really drew my attention. If you go to our panty at any time, you can get produce and meat and cheese. It’s not just your macaroni and cheese and Ramen noodles.”
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that we have to purchase those items. All the meats, the dairy, and a majority of the produce we have to go through suppliers and buy them for the families we support,” says Kevin.
During the worst of COVID, BGoldN continued their fresh food pantry (drive-up) and partnered with local restaurants that were going through hard times. Jefferson Counties’ Grab and Go Food Program, which gave families in need a fresh hot meal for free, supported the local eateries, was paid for by BGoldN.
“Living in Golden, I didn’t realize how many families were in need of food support,” says Kevin. “There are ways to support through advocacy, food drives and financial contributions. Our biggest operating budget line item is the fresh food we have to buy. And we’re having to absorb the cost increases just like anybody else.” Kevin reports that in the last year, his food costs have gone up 15 percent.
Kevin, with the help and support of other organizations and food providers arranges events such as Dignity Tuesday to bring the community together. He says, “It’s humbling to me that these local organizations are donating their time and their money meeting food supplies to provide 100 families with food for the Thanksgiving Holiday.”