Food and philanthropy: A moveable feast in Colorado Springs


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Homemade soup, donations of bread, and one-man-band Bob Tudor are enough to keep anyone warm on a cold fall night, but the community-building within Hillside neighborhood’s Concrete Coyote made it even better.

On Sunday, Nov. 13, the park was abuzz with activity for the return of "BREAD," a do-it-yourself, micro-granting community feast. 

“BREAD is a way of bringing the community together over a meal and listening to pitches that from people who just want to make the world a better place," explained Patience Kawabasa, who, along with Mia Alvarado and Han Santana-Sayles, co-created BREAD in 2018. Since then, they have hosted five events.  

Each community member who attends BREAD contributes around $10, has a delicious potluck meal and listens to individuals or groups explain their ideas to the crowd before they vote for their favorite.

A crowd of youth gather to pitch their ideas to the crowd, who will vote for their favorite. Winners from Sunday’s event received tiered amounts of cash toward their projects, with first place winners each receiving $400.


This BREAD was the first of its kind. “This is our first time doing it for kids,” Kawabasa said, “and we're so excited about that. We just want to hear from incredible kids in our community who are working to make their corner of the world a better place.” 

Over 90 audience members voted on five youth projects, awarding over $1,000 total cash. 

High school student Sophia Roberts tied for first vote with an idea she said, that “has the potential to positively affect the refugee community in our city.” Roberts will use the funds awarded her — $400 — to purchase bilingual resources to support Afghan, Cuban and Venezuelan refugees she works with volunteering through Lutheran Family Services. Roberts is organizing a group of English-speaking high schoolers to support education services for immigrant families. 

Tied for first place was a proposal from triplet siblings to build a large-scale spaceship and mushroom sculpture that doubles as a piece of playground equipment. The trio passed around a prototype of the sculpture they had made at Concrete Couch’s FAB LAB at Manitou Art Center

Other ideas pitched by youth ages 10 to 25 included creating healthy relationships between local colleges and Native American groups, rock climbing for youth empowerment and creating a garden to support a middle school lunch program. 

“Even if someone doesn't win the pot, they find fellow feeling in the crowd,” said Alvarado. "They find collaborators. They find champions.” 

“Maybe someone hears a pitch here today that doesn't actually get voted by the entire group,” Kawabasa said, “but they want to contribute to that person’s dream or want to support that person. This is a way to bring folks together.” 

As Executive Director of Food to Power, Kawabasa said the event is another form of bringing the community together around food and supports “our mission to cultivate a more equitable food system in the greater Colorado Springs community.” 

“The thing is, food access is not always equitable,” she said. “When you're trying to make sure that everything else is getting paid, what you eat is often compromised.” 

Kawabasa finds the community building that happens at BREAD to be unparalleled. “This is giving a chance to bring people together who might not normally, and to really connect people in a democratized or decentralized way,” she said.  

An event focusing the voices and ideas of youth is critical now, Kawabasa said.  

“It's really important for us to remember that kids and young people are not all doing well right now,” she said. “They are struggling right with their mental health. We want to provide ways to come together and support them.” 

A community meal at Concrete Coyote in support of BREAD.

“Mental health has always been kind of an issue, especially in teenagers around the country,” said one youth pitcher whose idea was to purchase gear and permits to bring young women rock climbing. “Rock climbing as women has helped to empower us as women and helped with our body image and our mental health,” she acknowledged. 

“When we see kids projecting hope. We need to gather around them,” Kawabasa said. “We need to support them. We need to uplift them. We need to create space for them. So that's what we are doing here today. That’s what this is all about.” 

“Creativity is really a big part of the youthful mind,” said Roberts, who walked away excited to support her bilingual education program. “I think it's really important to hear our ideas.” 

To pitch at or attend an upcoming BREAD in Colorado Springs, email  

Kate Perdoni is a Senior Regional Producer at Rocky Mountain PBS and can be reached at