Make all the jokes you want about banquets with rubber-chicken entrées. Just know that LiveWell Colorado’s fundraising luncheon was an exception to the rule.
Oh, the main dish did involve chicken, but it was a prize-winning, nutrient-filled wrap that was as pleasing to the taste buds as it was to the eye.
El Arandano Pollo Wrap, from the food-services team at the Denver Department of Human Services Family Crisis Center, was the winner of a contest held in November to determine what would be served to those attending the Dec. 11 luncheon held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown.
Cafeteria personnel from Littleton School District 6; Garfield County School District 16; Eagle County School District RE 50 J; and the Family Crisis Center entered the competition and were asked to prepare a meal, cooked from scratch, that meets or exceeds U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional standards and can be created for just $1 per serving.
In addition, the Littleton district’s Paula Buser received LiveWell Colorado’s inaugural Carrot Award in recognition of food-service improvements made in her school district.
They include the creation of Harvest Bars containing fresh, steamed and/or blanched produce each day; hiring two staff dietitians; purchasing immersion blenders and induction burners to facilitate the production of scratch-made dressings, sauces and entrées district-wide; and creating and implementing the Fuel to Live and Learn marketing campaign to promote the new services and food offerings.
The luncheon also was the occasion for LiveWell Colorado to present its first Wellness Champion Award to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock for steps he has taken to improve the health of the city’s residents.
These include establishing MY Denver Card, a program that gives kids between the ages of 5 and 18 free, year-round access to Denver’s recreation centers; the B-Cycle bike-rental program and dedicated bicycle lanes; and creating the Children’s Cabinet, whose members work to reduce the number of overweight and obese children in Denver.
“LiveWell Colorado is committed to reducing obesity and achieving the wellness of all Coloradans,” observed president/CEO Shepard Nevel. “This level of sustainable change depends on effective champions who are dedicated to leading the charge, and we look forward to working closely with Mayor Hancock to build on the momentum he has created.”
Retired Rocky Mountain Health Plans CEO John Hopkins of Grand Junction chairs the LiveWell Colorado board and was at the luncheon with such others as Grant Jones, founder and executive director of the Center for African American Health; Cigna vice president Jim Holder; Kurt Kennedy, vice president and general manager at Comcast Spotlight; Donna Lynne, president of Kaiser Permanente Colorado; Veronica Figoli, chief of family and community engagement for the Denver Public Schools; Anthony Graves, Denver’s director of regional affairs; Maggie Trout, who had the idea for what is now the MY Denver card; and Fernando Ocampo, one of LiveWell Colorado’s consulting chefs.
Joanne Davidson: 303-809-1314, jdavidson@ denverpost.com or twitter.com/joannedavidson
Online: More pictures from this event denverpost.com/seengallery