Nothing goes to waste in the good-hearted effort of 40 or more dedicated volunteers who show up on time when needed, willing to help and to work keeping the Surface Creek Community Services food bank's mission abreast of a growing need.
Known to most people as the Cedaredge Food Bank, the local institution in operation for over a decade has been facing an uphill trek in recent years of serving a growing number of families and individuals even as donations have lately tapered off.
Over 200 families per month comprised of almost 700 individuals turn to the local food bank monthly for food to supplement their monthly nutritional needs.
Food bank board member Nelson Cederberg points out that almost as many local families now use the food bank every month as did those in the food bank's entire first year of operation.
He and other board members are grateful and always thankful for the generosity of the individuals, businesses, groups, organizations and especially of the community's churches for their faithful support for the food bank. But what they see now as an increasing incidence of unemployment in the valley has contributed to a two-pronged challenge of increased demand and declining contributions.
"Donations have gone down a lot this year and we hope they pick up. More people are out of work," explains board member Donna Christenson.
The Cedaredge Food Bank operates with a budget totally dependent on donations of supplies and cash. To ensure that supporters get the absolute best use of their cash contributions to the effort, Christenson, the food bank's buyer, shops for food values locally and statewide with the aim of stretching every last penny spent as far as it can go to provide fresh and nutritious meals for local families.
Our own area food vendors and grocers are tops on Christenson's shopping list when sales provide the dollar-stretching buy signals she's always looking for. Local ag producers also donate generously to the food bank.
But in addition to that, every Thursday evening Christenson goes online and makes up a weekly shopping list of supplies available from Food Bank of the Rockies. The Denver-based food bank makes available staples, fresh produce, and even frozen meat through other suppliers at prices that are just unbelievably low, or even for free.
It's hard to stretch a food budget dollar farther than that. "We really do buy a lot of food for the money we spend," says Christenson.
The financial efficiency of the food bank's operations is being supplemented more and more by another community response to the growing need: the food bank pot luck events being hosted by businesses and other private groups. With the donation of a non-perishable food item or items to the food bank, local people are benefitted with services ranging from travelog presentations to appointments with a physician.
The focus on efficiency and on making sure that nothing goes to waste reaches beyond financial stewardship. Each Surface Creek area family making a monthly visit to the food bank is asked to complete a check list of food items they are not able to use. This ensures that no item ever leaves the food bank's shelves only to be spoiled or wasted at home.
The Cedaredge Food Bank will hold one of its semiannual food drives on Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Cedaredge Mercantile. Shoppers will be able to pick up a few extra sale items to leave with the food bank volunteers who will be on hand to load them for restocking the shelves before an always busy holiday season.
And, as if helping to fill an ongoing community need wasn't enough, the food bank's board and volunteers go even farther for the holidays. This year again they will assemble over 200 special Christmas boxes, including certificates for fresh meat purchases especially intended to make holidays a little more festive for their local clients.
Speaking of donations, Cederberg tells of one lady who had been a regular client of the food bank for two years. On day she came in during the weekly distribution but not to take any food back home with her. She handed him a donation check for $50.
"I just got a job," she explained, and I want to give something back.blog comments powered by Disqus