Food pantry truck feeds locals in need
Vail, CO Colorado
EDWARDS, Colorado – Ester Romo isn’t sure what she would do if community organizations such as the Salvation Army weren’t around to help.
Romo, of Avon, and her children were one of about 200 families who lined up for food from the Food Bank of the Rockies Mobile Food Pantry on Thursday morning – an event made possible by Chase Bank’s donation of trucks and the El Pomar Foundation’s cash donation of nearly $30,000.
Romo was laid off from her job as an assistant property manager at the Riverview Apartments in Avon and has been looking for a job ever since.
“It’s hard to find – there’s a shortage of employment,” Romo said.
Tsu Wolin-Brown, executive director of the Vail Valley Salvation Army, said people are really in need locally. She’s so grateful for the El Pomar Foundation’s grant to Food Bank of the Rockies, as well as a recent grant from Eagle County’s Health and Human Services department for more than $45,000.
For Romo and her family, the food goes a long way.
“It helps a lot,” Romo said. “For the kids especially, when they want a snack or something. It’s a great program for everyone.”
After the first 100 or so families received food Thursday, volunteers called the Hispanic radio station to announce that more was available. The announcement sent another wave of people coming through in the
Romo said the food pantry supports the entire community, though, not just the Hispanic community.
Another woman and her daughter, both Caucasians, were in line for food just before noon and were grateful for the opportunity. The woman was uncomfortable giving her name.
Without the help, she said feeding her family would be really hard.
“This is absolutely great,” she said. “Our church does this down in Eagle and we go every week for help.”
Anna Chaves brought her family to the Mobile Food Pantry on Thursday because she heard from a friend that it was available. She has never used the local food bank for help before and is grateful that it’s an option if finances continue to remain difficult.
“Right now, I don’t have a job and my baby is 8 months old,” Chaves said. “This helps a lot. My parents are in Mexico so I have no family here. It’s tough (without help).”
The Mobile Food Pantry has to spend $26,000 by Dec. 31, said Jill Bradley, of Food Bank for the Rockies. That money is both for the Western Slope truck as well as a truck serving the Denver area.
Bradley said the money can go pretty far because a lot of the food and products in the pantry are donated items, as well as purchased items.
Bradley said the goal with each of the truck’s stops is to leave each location with nothing left over. If they cannot give away everything they bring, the rest goes to local food pantries such as the Vail Valley Salvation Army’s pantry, she said.
“We want to make sure everyone gets a good chunk of it,” Bradley said.
The Food Pantry of the Rockies chose Eagle, Pitkin, Rio Blanco and Lake counties after researching which rural areas had the most need, Bradley said.
Wolin-Brown has seen a huge spike in need throughout the past year and said the program is helping feed a lot of families.
“I don’t know how people do it,” Wolin-Brown said. “They’ve blown through their savings and they’re still here, hoping to find jobs.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com.
The food truck will be back at the Vail Valley Salvation Army on Nov. 11 and Dec. 2 to hand out food and other necessities for locals in need from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Items are distributed to anyone seeking help – there are no qualifications or specific eligibility requirements. Products are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 970-926-3704 for more information.