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It has officially been one year since the World Health Organization declared the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. In the days, weeks, and months that followed the announcement, our communities have experienced rapid change. The pandemic has forced many into circumstances that they have never navigated before in their lives. From lockdowns, to layoffs, the impact of coronavirus on our communities has been immense. More than half of Americans lost at least one form of household income over 2020.

But the cannabis industry was extremely fortunate throughout 2020, as across the nation cannabusinesses were deemed “essential,” “life-sustaining,” and “critical,” and allowed to remain operational during the pandemic. With gratitude that we could keep our doors open, Terrapin wanted to do anything that we could to support our communities through these uncertain times. As Terrapin owner and CEO, Chris Woods, states “It is not lost on us as an industry that we have come a long way in being deemed critical during this crisis. We are fortunate to remain open, and our workers have answered the call.”

One issue that the coronavirus pandemic has greatly exacerbated is food insecurity. Feeding America estimates that 45 million people (1 in 7), including 15 million children (1 in 5), may have experienced food insecurity in 2020. Even as more and more Americans gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine, Feeding America projects that 42 million people (1 in 8), including 13 million children (1 in 6), may experience food insecurity in 2021. These numbers are even more heartbreaking because in 2019 food insecurity was at the lowest level it had been since the CDC began tracking food insecurity data in the 1990s.

Terrapin has been working with organizations focused on eliminating hunger for several years, preceding the pandemic. Terrapin’s extensive corporate social responsibility efforts have brought Terrapin a well-earned reputation for establishing strong connections in local communities by partnering with respected community organizations and leaders. Our community engagement efforts are guided by five pillars, one of which is Human Needs. We partner with community non-profits who work to ensure that every member of the communities we serve have access to that which is essential to a fulfilling life, such as food, shelter, and security. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we jumped into action, with addressing the sharp increase in food insecurity as one of our main priorities.

Terrapin, under the banner of Colorado Cannabis Cares, provided $40,000 to Colorado’s COVID-19 recovery fund. The funding was allocated to communities across Colorado who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, to community-based organizations supporting food access and housing assistance for low-income households, children and families impacted by school closures, Coloradans without health insurance, displaced workers, victims of domestic abuse, people experiencing homelessness, and more.

Our Colorado partner, Community Food Share saw a sharp increase in the number of community members who needed to access their services in the months after the coronavirus pandemic hit. In the six months following the pandemic’s arrival in our community, Community Food Share purchased 4 times more food than they did during the same timeframe in 2019. In response to the community’s need Terrapin adjusted our 2020 financial commitment to Community Food Share to allocate half of our annual donation to their COVID-19 Rapid Relief Fund. In addition, Terrapin held a Tip Matching drive at our retail locations to support our community partner, Community Food Share and their annual Corporate Challenge in May, providing more funds.

If you’d like to show your support for these wonderful organizations working to address the continued food insecurity in your community, Community Food Share has a raffle that you can purchase tickets to enter from March 12 to March 17! Click here to enter the raffle and win $10,000 worth of delicious meals from Green Chef – a food preparation subscription service. Choose from Green Chef’s easy-to-follow meal plans for every lifestyle, including keto and paleo diets, balanced living, or plant-powered. By entering, you’ll support Community Food Share’s vital mission to eliminate hunger in Boulder and Broomfield Counties. For every dollar you donate, Community Food Share can provide three meals for those in need! Our other partnerships who are tackling hunger in our communities include Kids’ Food Basket and Village Exchange Center’s Village Farms at Stanley. Kids’ Food Basket in Grand Rapids, Michigan is a grassroots, community solution to childhood hunger. KFB has been serving the West Michigan community for over a decade through the Sack Supper program and now serves nearly 8,800 kids each weekday. If you would like to support Kids’ Food basket with funds or through volunteering find an opportunity here. Village Farms at Stanley is another Colorado community partner who is working to address hunger by providing the local immigrant population an opportunity to learn how to cultivate their own produce, and provide education on nutrition. The produce grown at Village Farms is then sold at Stanley Market. If you would like to support Village Farms as they work to prepare for the 2021 season, consider donating to Village Exchange Center, the non-profit organization who funds Village Farms efforts.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. More and more Americans are getting their coronavirus vaccines. Last week, President Joe Biden announced that his administration has coordinated the delivery of 600 million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. This would be enough coronavirus vaccines to cover all adults by the end of May. In the meantime, Terrapin will continue to provide support to our communities and work with our partners to eliminate hunger.