Denver Inner City Parish (DICP) provides a variety of community services and is well known for food distribution. One of the largest and the longest-operating food pantries in Colorado, before COVID, DICP was distributing about 40,000 pounds of food per month. Since the pandemic hit, they have shifted to a home delivery model using AppGeo’s Bringfood application for routing. AppGeo’s Bringfood manager Priya Sankalia spoke with Michael Bruno, Hunger Programs Director at DICP, to ask about the transition to home delivery during COVID.
Denver Inner City Parish Hunger Programs Director, Michael Bruno
PS: What has changed since the start of the COVID pandemic, and how has this affected the size of your program?
MB: The pandemic has been an astonishing challenge. Since the pandemic began, demand for food has grown immensely. We’ve jumped from about 40,000 pounds of food per month to approximately 65,000 pounds per month. We are spending in three weeks for our staff and food programs what we would typically have spent in one year. I am managing 2-3 times the volunteers we normally have.
PS: How has your delivery model changed due to COVID?
MB: We had initiated a drive-up model during COVID, and were looking into home delivery but were limited by logistics. We recognized that home delivery is super helpful to people who struggle to get around, especially because of cuts to public transit or handicap access issues. Now that we’ve started regular home delivery, we hope to keep home delivery going into the future, even after COVID ends. Having Bringfood to help with determining the best routes for drivers has been a key part of that process.
PS: Michael, can you start by telling us how you’ve adopted Bringfood and how it is helping DICP?
MB: The biggest way Bringfood helped me out is with time savings, and this has been especially true during the holiday season last year. Before we had Bringfood, we built routes for home delivery using our knowledge of the city, which made it a slow process. For example, Denver’s network of zip codes makes it very difficult to figure out an efficient order of streets for routing. Our drivers spent their time plugging data into Google to figure out the best routes. They were delivering 50 meals per day for seniors, and it took about ½ hour to make the routes. There’s also about 30-45 deliveries twice a week for non-seniors. Our drivers appreciate the efficiency of the routing.
Other Bringfood features have been helpful too. Knowing the mileage of each driver’s route helps with planning, and seeing the data in detail allows me to catch duplicate entries in our database. Recording the mileage totals and time required also helps us document the work we are doing to funders.
PS: What is the background of DICP? What sorts of services do you provide?
MB: I am proud to say that DICP is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. We are a community-based social services non-profit. We were one of the first programs to start institutionalized food distribution in the US. In addition to food, we offer programs that help with other basic needs – from hygiene to toys for Christmas. We have a Care Navigator program, which connects people in need to community resources and public benefits. We also have a senior center, mail facility, provide phone and internet access, tutoring, and offer free meals. And we do all of this with only six full time staff. To donate to DICP, click here.