Turning every dollar into four meals in America’s least populated state

Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies uses its network to distribute 23,000 meals a day

In the state of Wyoming, one in every eight people—and one in every six children—doesn’t have a day-to-day supply of food.

The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies is working to end this food insecurity, distributing food to nearly 72,000 people each year through more than 175 partner agencies.

“Last year we distributed about 10.5 million pounds of food, which is the equivalent of about 8.2 million meals,” says Victoria Ziton, communications and development manager at Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies. “That’s 23,000 meals a day.”

Ninety-six cents of every dollar donated to the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies is directed to food distribution. One of the biggest challenges the food bank faces is the capacity of partner agencies, which are unable to distribute the food or to hold the food until they can distribute it.

Wyoming is the least populated state in America, but the 10th-largest by area.

“What we find is that we'll have a partner agency in a town of 250 people, and there isn’t a grocery store or a gas station or convenience store within 60 to 70 miles of them,” Ziton explains.

“Even after someone steps up and decides to be a partner agency, they are lacking the capacity to receive food. They may not even have a refrigerator in their facility because there’s no industry to support that,” she adds.

The Wyoming Food Bank supports partner agencies with a capacity-building fund to help deliver refrigerators and freezers to those partners so they’re able to distribute the food needed by communities without access to a grocery store.

The food bank serves all 23 counties in the state of Wyoming and has a variety of programs designed to support specific demographics which may be more at risk.

“Two of the populations that are at the highest risk are seniors and children,” explains Tony Woodell, a Director at Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies.

“We have a program where children are able to pick up food from their schools on a Friday afternoon and take it home with them. This way, the family has the supplies they need for the meals over the weekend,” he says.

Another program assists seniors by providing boxes of food that include a recipe card designed for the food in the box—giving seniors easier access to groceries, and allowing them to feel comfortable preparing meals for themselves.

The multiple programs offered by Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies have allowed them to touch the lives of many.

“One young woman we worked with struggled after she lost her high-paying oilfield job. She discovered some of our partner agencies here and she was working two or three jobs where she was making minimum wage to keep food on the table for her children,” recalls Ziton.

“She slowly worked herself out of that situation and is now a volunteer manager of a partner agency. It’s very touching to me that she is taking her spare time now to help others through the pantry that helped her and her children.”

As part of Enbridge’s commitment to improving the quality of life in areas near our operations, we recently provided support to the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies. Based on our $5,000 donation, the food bank estimates it will be able to provide 20,000 meals, to be distributed in the areas where Enbridge has a footprint in Wyoming.

“We recognize the gift that was provided by Enbridge and want to use the donation to support individuals in the areas where the company provides services,” says Woodell. “We're very happy to have Enbridge as a partner in this effort for the state of Wyoming—it truly does make a huge difference.”