More than 14,000 students in Adams County, Colo., depend on free meals at school for adequate nutrition throughout the week, with approximately 1,200 of those students identifying as homeless. But what happens on the weekends? That’s where local nonprofit Food for Hope steps in. Founded in 2014 by Thornton, Colo., Mayor Heidi K. Williams, Food for Hope is trying to close what they refer to as the hunger gap by providing children in need with healthy meals every weekend of the school year. And they’re off to a great start – in 2016, Food for Hope distributed 10,659 bags of food to elementary and high school-aged children and their families, and volunteers gave more than 2,600 hours of their time. While the organization continues to grow their service area, they also needed additional materials to help tell their story to increase donations and opportunities.
After seeing a Facebook post looking for local nonprofits to participate in Anythink’s Ad Agency Boot Camp – an eight-week course on digital marketing that would provide content to a local orginization – Food for Hope knew this was the program for them.
“We are a smaller, local nonprofit,” says Food for Hope Director of Development Darcie Ball. “We knew if we were picked, we could benefit greatly.”
After being selected and meeting with the participants and their mentor, Anythink artist in residence Matthew Mckissick, the collaboration became a mutually beneficial experience. Participants were able to create real-world use case marketing content like videos and social media campaigns for their professional portfolios, while Food for Thought was able to reap the rewards of receiving free branded materials to help them spread the word about their organization.
“The experience was really great for us,” says Ball. “The individuals and teacher of the class made themselves available to us for multiple presentations, asked many questions, and built some key branding that we would not be able to do ourselves with limited funds.”
You can see some of that hard work in action now – on their website at foodforhope.net and their Facebook page. This partnership between students, mentor and nonprofit also helped create new connections with lasting impacts – one of the Ad Agency Boot Camp participants is now joining the Food for Hope team as a social media volunteer. With new resources, the organization is hoping to expand their services into middle schools and build food pantries for kids in the Adams 12 school district. They’re also hoping to see more partnerships like Ad Agency Boot Camp that have the ability to benefit both those community members who want to learn new skills, as well as the local non-profits who need the extra talent.
“As we went through the process, I see that many local individuals, small business owners and college students would benefit from this class and, on the other hand, local, small nonprofits can get new branding ideas that they need to be more successful.” ■
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