COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A local organization has made a five-year commitment to improving hunger statistics in our area.

According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap report, one in four southern Colorado children is at risk of missing at least one meal every day.

Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado serves an area stretching over 31 counties. That same study says there are more than 171,000 people in need of food throughout the region.

Last year, they started a five-year plan called Within Reach. They recently teamed up with Kaiser Permanente, who is providing a grant that has helped launch Within Reach. The goal is to provide access to food for everyone at risk of hunger in southern Colorado. One year later, the results are in.

“We got food to 14,000 more people than we did the year before, which is about a million more meals going to people,” Lynne Telford, President and CEO of Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado, said.

Instead of serving 63 percent of the need, they’re now serving 71 percent through distribution to more than 300 partner agencies as well as free summer meal programs.

“The kids come for their free lunch and then the families can pick up healthy, nutritious foods to put in their pantries,” Telford said. “One hundred and thirty families came through last week to get food at this farm fresh market, so that’s really encouraging to us.”

And they’re not distributing just any good. It needs to be healthy.

“We’ve got carrots and corn and watermelon today,” said Telford.

But she said none of this would be possible without help from the community.

“We’re so grateful to this community,” Telford said. “This is a generous, giving community full of volunteers and donors, people who want to make sure that their neighbors in need get what they need to survive.”

For more information on how to volunteer with Care and Share Food Bank or how to get food assistance, visit their website at