As the Community Impact Director of the American Heart Association’s Colorado division, Kacie works on community and clinical partnerships to advance community health. She has her Masters in Public Health and has lived in Denver for 12 years with her husband and two children.
What inspired American Heart Association to get involved with Denver Rescue Mission?
Jim McDonald was the chair of the 2022 Heart Ball for the American Heart Association. He has a passion for the American Heart Association and is also a donor at Denver Rescue Mission. At Jim’s encouragement, our two teams sat down together to talk about where our missions align and found commonality in nutrition security, or access to healthy and nutritious food. We are so grateful that Jim connected our two organizations so that we could uncover these opportunities to collaborate.
What inspired the installation of the fridge in our client services area at the Ministry Outreach Center?
When discussing food donations and how those were received by clients of the Mission, we uncovered a need to provide refrigeration in the food pantry to store donations of healthy food items that often go bad quickly, like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products.
Can you speak of the impact you know the fridge is already having on our community?
Since it was added to the client services area, they have served 1,123 households and distributed 16,920 pounds of food (refrigerated and not), equaling nearly 14,100 meals. The Mission said this has been such a blessing in an increased time of need as more and more families are experiencing their budgets tightening. This service ensures that families can continue to pay rent or other needed expenses, while fresh and healthy food can be put on their table.
What was it like to see the fridge installed and this partnership come to fruition?
The entire staff of the American Heart Association’s Denver office came to the Mission in December 2022 for a volunteer shift in the warehouse, which was a great opportunity for our staff to see firsthand what the Mission does in the community. Our staff brought in healthy food items like fresh fruits and vegetables to stock the fridge. Personally, I have a strong passion for healthy food access, so it was very fulfilling to see the refrigerator really adding value to the food pantry.
This post is part of May’s Changing Lives Newsletter. This month, we’re sharing Phillip’s journey in: A Veteran’s Story of Restoration.