MESA COUNTY, Colo – At the height of the pandemic, the USDA created the ‘Farmers to Families’ Food Box Program. Farmers had extra products due to cancelled food service contracts, and gave them to local food banks.
Palisade, Colorado’s Food Bank of the Rockies is inspired by what this program has done for Mesa County communities.
“Actually seeing all the people coming out, all the different hands moving all the food, everything that goes into the organization and the work; it’s just really amazing to see how much people can come together to help each other,” says Food Distributor Cameron Russel.
Now that ‘Farmers to Families’ has ended, the Food Bank of the Rockies will implement the ‘Fresh’ Program to continue to feed families across the state after a difficult pandemic year.
“We’re seeing more people need food assistance than ever before, more than the Great Recession. The food that we’re able to provide certainly helps every family,” explains Food Bank Director Sue Ellen Rodwick.
The plan is to continue to prioritize local distributors for food items like meat, milk, eggs, and vegetables.
Hunger isn’t the only concern the food bank has. This heat wave here in Mesa County may impact the resources these families need.
With record-breaking heat coming up soon, food banks are trying to provide enough fluids for those who need it.
“We definitely see more of a need for water, especially among our homeless community to keep them hydrated,” continues Rodwick.
‘Farmers to Families’ has distributed 1.25 million pounds of produce every month since 2020. The ‘Fresh’ Program will need $300,000 per month to fill this gap. The support of partnerships and donations fuels programs like this one, and will help the Food Bank of the Rockies fight food insecurity across Colorado.
To donate or volunteer with the Food Bank of the Rockies, visit Give Funds | Food Bank of the Rockies (foodbankrockies.org)