Food bank still lending a hand

New downtown location should benefit everyone

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— Lift-Up of Routt County got a great lease rate from town officials to expand its operations to the old town hall building downtown.

The South Routt Food Bank opened its doors Oct. 2 after the town agreed to rent out the front part of the building for $1 a year. For two days a week, the store will be open for south Routt families and residents who need a little assistance.

"Having a food bank here helps people who have to figure out transportation or can't pay for gas to get to Steamboat," South Routt Food Bank staff member Lisa Bohlmann said.

At least 65 families from south Routt use the food bank at some capacity. Now that it's located downtown, Executive Director David Freseman hopes to get some more families on board.

"We're hoping to serve them better and we hope to serve some additional ones that didn't make it to Steamboat," he said.

Sandy and Rainer Beran ran the food bank from their house in Oak Creek for a few years.

However, the couple moved to Steamboat, leaving Freseman with a need to find a better way to serve the community.

"There maybe are more people who qualify with us but they don't know about it," Bohlmann said.

If families qualify, with qualifications being based on income and other elements, they can visit the food bank three times in a six-month period.

On those visits, a person can have three free bags of groceries, proportioned out into dry foods, personal products and meat.

The food bank also is an information clearing house that can connect people with a decent place to stay for a night or two and medical assistants at an affordable price.

For example, if someone is passing through town and needs a hot meal and a place to stay, the food bank will hand out vouchers for a local motel and restaurant.

The private, nonprofit agency also can hook up families who have medical needs with the Visiting Nurse Association.

Anyone interested in food bank services should stop by between 9 a.m. and noon Monday or Thursday to fill out a one-page application.

If those hours don't work, call the office in Steamboat.

"We're still playing around with the hours," Freseman said. "There may be a different time that would work better."

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