Collaboration with Atlas Prep pushes CSFR forward

Colorado Springs Food Rescue has recently collaborated with Atlas Preparatory High School, a Harrison District 2 charter school. CSFR staff, Colorado College students, and select Atlas Prep high school student interns are working together to provide fresh produce and pantry items to Atlas Prep families through a weekly food program.

The process of collaboration began a year ago, when CSFR tried running a grocery program at the school, but found that their connections were lacking. In response, CSFR focused on connecting directly to members who would receive the food and therefore best understand the needs—Atlas Prep students.

Atlas Prep is a public school that aims to provide high-quality, preparatory school education to a mostly low-income student body.

Student interns from Atlas Prep were selected by an application process created by Colorado College students and directors of CSFR. “Four interns were chosen based off their experiences and potential to grow,” said CSFR educational coordinator and Colorado College junior Andy Rivas.

The four interns receive school credit for this experience and do coursework that furthers their understanding of the food system in Colorado Springs. Colorado College students Rivas and Luis Quiles mentor the interns on a weekly basis, providing peer support as well as ideas for curriculum.

“We (the interns and the coordinators) really just want to share knowledge about health equity and food justice,” said Rivas.

The duties of the student interns include organizing food, coordinating distribution, and creating educational media about food justice and food systems. They are also responsible for facilitating a community event to share what they have been working on.

The educational coordinators from CC oversee the distribution, create educational media, conduct lessons in food justice topics, and coordinate with outside organizations to provide the students with field trips.

All of the food for the grocery program goes to Atlas Prep families.

“We wanted to ensure that this would be a community-led and community supporting grocery program,” said Rivas.

CSFR is currently in the process of bringing similar educational programming and a student-run food rescue to Palmer High School. The CC student educational coordinators are leveraging their community connections so they can expand their efforts.

“It will take some time,” said Rivas, “but our collaborations will hopefully lead us to being involved with many schools and youth throughout the Springs.”

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