Cat 2 Racer Melanie Wong Henson is all about decreasing food waste and Increasing health equity … on bikes!
Did you know that a major focus of Colorado Women’s Cycling Project: Naked Women’s Racing Team is volunteerism? Yeah, yeah, we win a lot of podiums, we’re a very large presence in the bike community, and you can literally see our snazziness coming from a mile away. However, every member is required to volunteer for a cycling-related nonprofit for at least 8 hours each season. Many of our members go far beyond that minimum requirement, committing themselves throughout the year to making a difference.
Upon moving to the Front Range, I searched for an organization to support and quickly found the Denver Food Rescue. They rode right past me in Capitol Hill – a cadre of bicyclists hauling lumpy-looking trailers with determination.
“What are you doing?” I yelled.
“We’re the Denver Food Rescue!” someone cheerily shouted back.
A few weeks later, I was on my ‘cross bike, huffing and puffing through downtown with my own Denver Food Rescue haul behind me. Here’s how it works:
Volunteers ride to different grocery stores around Denver every day of the week with bike trailers and pick up unwanted produce and other fresh food – often organic, high quality fruits and veggies that would otherwise go to waste. The food is collected and redistributed through DFR’s no cost grocery program that is partnered with existing organizations such as boy & girls’ clubs, schools and community centers. This model of bicycles and how the food is distributed is really what makes DFR special. Each program is managed by folks that actually live in the community.
We almost exclusively do this work on bikes to minimize our environmental impact, promote healthy lifestyles, and, well, because bikes and food are both among my favorite things. My shift crew and I started our 2017 off with a bang last Sunday morning by hauling 1,400 pounds of fresh food to a neighborhood in need. Food matters, and Whole Foods or Sprouts isn’t an options for many in our community. I love it when bikes help us do amazing things.
Find out more at www.denverfoodrescue.org, and keep an eye out for other Naked ladies making a difference!
To see the all of the cycling related organizations for which CWCP actively volunteers, click here.
photo credits: Steve Natali, Denver Food Rescue