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Meet Robert Lees

At the heart of Caring Hands Outreach Center's mission is mobilizing compassion. We are pleased to introduce you to one of our key team members, Robert Lees. His role as a soil expert goes beyond just enriching the earth; it's about sowing the seeds of hope and compassion in the lives of those facing food insecurity - mobilizing compassion.

At Caring Hands, we believe that every person plays a crucial part in creating positive change, and Robert embodies that belief. We consider ourselves fortunate to have him on board, and it's clear that his expertise is a true blessing for our organization. He utilizes his skills to address the pressing issue of food insecurity - providing assistance without judgment. We think you'll enjoy getting to know Robert as much as we have.

What's your background?

I was trying to enjoy a vacation on the beach of California during the El Nino event in February of 1997, which was life-changing. By 1999, I had read the failed Kyoto Protocol and started a worm farm to grow food with a reduced carbon footprint. I moved to Iowa with my amazing son Avery (20) from Denver, Colorado, to better understand food production and capitalize on less expensive land. Next, I started The Soil Kitchen, an all-natural soil amendment garden supply store. In 2019, it closed due to pressure from Amazon. When I learned about Caring Hands and the garden that would be started, I couldn't wait to help feed people regardless of their financial capacity.

What inspired you to come to Caring Hands?

Caring Hands is the perfect expression of what food is to people. Everyone needs food, regardless of position or status. I spent time volunteering in the warehouse, but I knew I could help in a more significant way. What I have learned about food production and the nutrition in most processed foods in the pantry inspired me to get involved in helping establish Caring Hands Gardens. Caring Hands allowed me to demonstrate a different environmentally friendly way of producing fresh, nutritious food for everyone, not just those with significant financial means.

How have you enjoyed your time at Caring Hands so far?

The people at Caring Hands make the difference. In the echo chamber of "nobody is doing enough for the planet," seeing the number of people who care about others has been incredible. The levels of compassion in Caring Hands have been overwhelming for someone who thinks the sky is always falling. Meeting our neighbors in the pantry has also been challenging but rewarding.

What do you want people to know about Caring Hands?

Caring Hands is exactly what you would think it is. Care is available for all who visit or volunteer. Taking the burden of financial status away from people's lives allows for a more genuine experience of who people actually are.

What's something most people don't know about you?

I fear flying. I tried to learn about planes at Colorado Aero Tech to reduce my anxiety, but it didn't work. I train/drive everywhere I go and can count the times I have been on a plane without using my toes.


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