PALISADE, Colo. (KREX) – Food insecurity did not start with the pandemic, but the crisis did feed on existing problems. According to Food Bank of the Rockies, national food shortages delayed or cancelled certain orders.
“Any kind of food shortage affects us because a percentage of what we bring in is food that we purchase by the truckload,” Food Bank of the Rockies Executive Director Sue Ellen Rodwick explains.
The challenges with food sourcing include relying on local suppliers for donations and purchasing. Food Bank of the Rockies did some research in the meantime.
While food banks across Colorado continue being productive in fighting food insecurity, what they found that people in need really want is fresh produce,” Cora Dickey reports.
30 percent of the food bank’s supply is produce with help from Colorado State University’s research farm in Orchard Mesa and other local growers. The food bank’s latest initiative is to be culturally responsive, listening to what families want over assuming what they need.
“We’ve been able to gain the trust of many of our Latino communities and we’re doing a better job of feeding people of color,” Rodwick reflects, “You can integrate fresh produce into any kind of cultural foods whether it’s Indian, Asian, Latino; you can use produce across the board.”
Rodwick shares it will likely take time for food insecurity levels to recover, but a comeback is in the midst.
“No matter how long it takes for recovery to happen, we have a food bank and our partners across the Western Slope, Colorado, Wyoming; we are here to make sure that every single person who needs food has the food that they need,” Rodwick affirms.