Work Options: The Helping Hen Food Truck
WorkOptions.org | TheHelpingHen.com
Previously Work Options for Women, this culinary organization was founded in Denver in 1997 with a mission to help individuals overcome long-term employment barriers by providing job training and resources, from acquiring proper identification to group therapy sessions. Work Options allows hands-on experience for adults who were formerly incarcerated, are transitioning off of public assistance, are facing housing insecurity, or are looking to gain work experience. The free four- to six-week training program teaches students applied kitchen work while offering support for successful employment and sustainable living.
The Helping Hen Food Truck is a paid internship opportunity following completion of the Work Options’ training program. In addition to providing employment opportunities, the truck serves Denver’s food-insecure community, having offered 100,000 emergency meals since its opening. This past winter, the Helping Hen collaborated with Colorado Village Collaborative to offer free meals for unhoused individuals and created lunch meals for staff at UCHealth.
Those interested in applying for the program can go to workoptions.org/new-students/ and donation information can be found at workoptions.org.
Community Foodshare: Mobile Pantry at Centennial Elementary
A member of Feeding America, Community Food Share was founded in 1981 after several Boulder County organizations met to discuss how they could best resolve hunger issues within the area. The organization’s multiple programs—from the senior food program “Elder Share” to its mobile pantries across many locations—engage Boulder and Broomfield in eliminating hunger.
Community Food Share partners with Broomfield FISH and Centennial Elementary School (13200 Westlake Drive, Broomfield) on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 2:30 to 4 p.m. to bring fresh produce, dairy, meat and other items to those in need of food assistance at no-cost, on the go. Saving households about $120 per visit, the mobile service assisted 3,500 community members in 2021. The purpose of the mobile truck is to increase access to food and decrease the need to travel, according to Community Food Share’s marketing and communications manager Frankie Ryder.
The organization asks that those who attend bring reusable shopping bags, as well as photo identification and proof of current address in Boulder or Broomfield counties. Information on donations of food or funds to Community Food Share can be found at CommunityFoodshare.org/donate/ and volunteers can go to CommunityFoodshare.org/volunteer/ to join the mobile service team or learn more about their local needs.
Bayaud Enterprises: Mobile Laundry Truck
Bayaud Enterprises is a social service organization working to assist individuals with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness and those facing other employment challenges to “more fully participate in the mainstream of life.” Their job training and placement, support, counseling, public benefits and mobile services help individuals reach self-reliance.
One of Bayaud’s mobile services is a mobile laundry truck. The truck houses several washers and dryers to provide free laundry to the Denver Metro area. In the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the mobile service produced 95,000 pounds of laundry and served, in combination with a mobile shower service, nearly 1,500 people.
The Bayaud Mobile Laundry Truck operates Tuesdays at the Veterans Affairs’ Community Resource and Referral Center in Denver, Wednesdays at Bayaud Enterprises in Denver and Thursdays at the Crossroad Church in Northglenn from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Volunteers can go to BayaudEnterprises.org/about/get-involved/volunteer/ to stay up to date on the organization’s volunteer needs and donations to Bayaud Enterprises can be completed on their website.