High Altitude Society: Salvation Army hinders hunger in the Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

High Altitude Society: Salvation Army hinders hunger in the Vail Valley

Carolyn Pope
High Altitude Society

If home is where the heart is, there's little doubt that a center of the Vail Valley is the Salvation Army in Avon.

On Friday, Sept. 21, the Salvation Army hosted its fifth annual Community Harvest Dinner in its own backyard. The building that the Salvation Army is housed in isn't the most beautiful building in the valley; it's a manufactured building that serves many purposes. It's not elegant, but the love, kindness and generosity would rival any home from East Vail to Gypsum. The food pantry occupies two rooms and there's the office space. The back of the property is a virtual farmer's delight, with crops of squash, corn, pumpkins, lettuces, herbs, kale and sunflowers.

The annual event's theme is "pay what you can so all may eat." In other words, the event is free for those who want to share in an exceptional dinner created by local chefs, but under daily circumstances, wouldn't be able. Donors paid $250 for a table of ten, which they either shared with friends or coworkers, or donated to those who support our community, such as local firefighters.

Covey of culinary students

“Kids who’ve never eaten veggies are eating kale and beans.” Tsu Wolin-BrownExecutive director for Vail Valley Salvation Army

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Chef and instructor Todd Rymer brought along a covey of culinary students who whipped up some satisfying sorrel soup, fried green tomatoes and roasted fingerling potatoes filled with sour cream and chives. Local chef Marc Rouse donated two large platters of meat; smoked goat and smoked lamb. Chef Sam Shipman, of La Tour, also served up some fresh veggies, along with chefs Jordan Henderson, Christopher Kew and Ashton Fichtl. Hovey & Harrison tossed in some artisan bread, and Juniper Restaurant and Kiwi International Delights served fresh peach cobbler and homemade ice cream.

Of course, a feast isn't a feast without some good wines, so Bonnie and Jack Vesey along with Patrick Chirichillo, of Vines at Vail, provided the libations.

Children ran among the sunflowers and pumpkins, families gathered together and community leaders all enjoyed the abundant spread while local vocalist and guitarist Pat Hamilton entertained.

It was all about spreading the love, and the food.

"Kids who've never eaten veggies are eating kale and beans," said Executive Director Tsu Wolin-Brown, indicating the lack of basic nutrition among some locals that most of us take for granted. Vegetables can expensive in the local grocery stores, so it is common that parents resort to canned and boxed goods to feed their families.

Not at the Salvation Army, where families can fill their carts with fresh produce that was, literally, picked that morning.

Salvation Army also provides Emergency Services for those in need, such as the several families who lost their homes in fires this summer. Volunteer needs are plentiful, whether it be to stock shelves, help unload the trucks or assist in the garden.

Visit its website at http://www.salvation armyvail.org or give a call at 970-748-0704 to see how you can help, or if you need help.