I am writing in response to the "Sound Off" comments made in the July 31 Steamboat Pilot & Today regarding the South Routt Food Bank.
One allegation was made that food from the food bank was not fresh. My first response would be that as a food bank, the goal is to provide those in need with staple, nonperishable food items. Care always is taken to ensure that the shelf life for nonperishable food is appropriate. If the writer was referring to perishable food, it should be noted that perishable food is always donated and is not 100 percent fresh when we receive it. If it is not fit for use, we do not make it available. Sometimes, we freeze perishable food items at the Oak Creek Food Bank so that the items can be used appropriately after thawing. It is our feeling that this allegation is not accurate.
The other claim was made that a client can receive emergency financial assistance only one time. Indeed, usually we only help a client with financial assistance once in a calendar year. We work to help clients become self-sufficient, but if in a different year there is an emergency need demonstrated for basic life support -- food, clothing, shelter, heat, minor medical, dental or prescription help -- we take the request very seriously at our offices in Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek and Hayden. The allegation that we will help only once is erroneous.
Since the feature article about the South Routt Food Bank appeared on the Pilot & Today's South Routt page, we have seen client usage in Oak Creek increase, and many from South Routt have expressed their concerns to keep that facility open for residents of Oak Creek, Stagecoach, Phippsburg, Yampa and Toponas.
As long as I am writing this letter, I want to take the opportunity to express a huge thank you for the community support for the LIFT-UP capital campaign. Thanks to the generosity of many in the community and Routt County, LIFT-UP will have a much-needed, consolidated building in Steamboat Springs with adequate space to serve those in need over the future decades.
David R. Freseman