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Carol “CJ” Johnson
(303) 458-7945


Mobile food pantry helps feed hundreds of low-income seniors

Man in food line at food bank

DENVER (April 15, 2014) – The leaders of the Senior Assistance Center in north Denver got tired of talking and hoping, and decided to just start making their dream of serving 500 low-income older adults through a weekly mobile food bank become a reality.

The small charity organization near 44th and Federal has been running a weekly food and clothing bank out of its modest brick building since 1995, where they also offer assistance to adults ages 55 and older with financial emergencies and medical needs.

“We are often the last safety net to keep a person from going hungry or becoming homeless,” said SAC executive director CJ Johnson.

Every Thursday between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. the food and clothing bank is open, often serving a line of 150 men and women. Women like Brenda Cleveland, who has polio and lives on just $11,000 per year from Social Security. “This food bank helps me out a lot,” Cleveland said.

Men like Robin Williams, who is also living strictly off Social Security and finding he needs to rely on the food bank for the first time in his life, “And I can’t say as I’m wildly excited about it, but without it I would really be high and dry, so this is a major augmentation and very helpful.”

The SAC purchases its weekly array of fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, breads and dairy products from the Food Bank of the Rockies, and supplements it with staple items donated or purchased from other local food chains. They also distribute government commodities like cheese, rice, pasta, peanut butter and canned items to between 60 and 100 eligible seniors each month.

Still, the SAC leaders know for every person they reach, thousands more are struggling and in need. So, they have started renting a U-Haul van to deliver food to two Denver Housing Authority high rise buildings on Tuesday mornings.

“As far as we can tell, no other groups are offering this kind of delivery service,” said Johnson who reports reaching about 250 seniors in addition to the 150 they serve on site each week, “And we expect to see that number double as word gets out.”

The SAC is working to raise enough money to purchase its own delivery truck as soon as possible.

They are operating this mobile food bank as a pilot program with plans to expand and collaborate with other agencies aimed at serving Denver’s older population. One group Johnson is particularly eager to partner with is a mobile pet food pantry, to help care for the animals that provide comfort and companionship to so many older low income adults.

An annual luncheon fundraiser titled, “Through the Eyes of a Senior,” is planned for
Thursday, May 8, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Denver Marriott Tech Center to help generate support for the SAC’s missions. All are welcome to attend, ticket information can be found on the organizations’s website at along with details about how to help the SAC’s mission of feeding hungry seniors in Denver.

Posted in Denver, Denver Front, Featured | Tagged Denver, food bank, low income, Senior Assistance Center, Seniors For more information about the Senior Assistance Center, please visit

Senior Assistance Center is a 501(c)3 organization which provides Denver low-income seniors with emergency financial help to prevent eviction and utility shutoff. SAC also provides support for medical, dental or optical needs, as well as a weekly food bank, emergency food pantry and other necessities, plus referral services. SAC is often the last safety net to keep a needy senior from going hungry or becoming homeless.

Earlier articles:

May 10, 2012 Senior Assistance Center Celebrates Older Americans Year-round
April 5, 2012 Senior Assistance Center Helps Donald and Others Remain Independent
April 5, 2012 Northwest Denver Nonprofit Runs Weekly Food Bank for Low-income Seniors
April 1, 2011 Association for Senior Citizens Announces Name Change to Senior Assistance Center
August 18, 2010 Senior Assistance Center assists seniors in financial need
January 28, 2010 Senior Assistance Center Announces Carol "CJ" Johnson as Executive Director

The Senior Assistance Center is a 501(c)(3) charitable institution recognized by the IRS. All donations are tax deductible.

Senior Assistance Center  | 2839 West 44th Avenue; Denver,CO 80211-1428  | Phone: 303-455-9642  |

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