LIFT-UP of Routt County Food Bank volunteer Patty Wirschem's church, the Steamboat Christian Center, is trying to collect a ton of food this month for the food bank.

Photo by Matt Stensland

LIFT-UP of Routt County Food Bank volunteer Patty Wirschem's church, the Steamboat Christian Center, is trying to collect a ton of food this month for the food bank.

Steamboat church to lift up food bank

Steamboat Christian Center drive aims to collect a ton of food

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— Steamboat Christian Center wants to collect a ton of food donations this month - literally.

In an effort to provide a boost to LIFT-UP of Routt County's food bank during one of its busiest seasons, the church in southern Steamboat Springs has set a goal of collecting 2,000 pounds in food donations in Colorado. Pam Graham, LIFT-UP food bank manager, said most local churches support the organization by picking months to do food drives.

"(Pastor) Troy (Lewis) thought they should do something more than that," Graham said.

"It would definitely be a huge help. Every can that's donated, every bag that's donated, is one we don't have to buy. : Everyone's still struggling from the economic downturn and really, really needs some help."

Graham said Steamboat's shoulder seasons are some of the food bank's busiest because many service industry workers have their hours cut or earn fewer tips.

"We're always busy this time of year," she said.

Lewis said Youth Minister Jon Gagnon, the church's youth members and other church groups have taken the lead in the effort. Lewis said residents shouldn't be surprised to see them out in Steamboat knocking on doors, and the church has procured a 19-foot cargo truck with a banner on it that will be stationed across the community collecting donations.

"Going into winter, we knew there was some concern," Lewis said. "We're going to be out there."

Lewis added that anyone who wants to donate to LIFT-UP could take food to the donation center at 2125 Curve Court.

"Don't wait on us," Lewis said.

Donations collected by Steamboat Christian Center are being weighed before they are taken to LIFT-UP so the church can track its progress toward the goal. Lewis said in the first week of October they collected 400 to 500 pounds of food.

"My sense is it will start to build, and we'll have more than a ton," Lewis said.

The big final push will be Halloween, when Steamboat Christian Center will station its truck downtown to accept food donations or cash to buy food.

So how much food is in a ton? Neither Lewis nor Graham could quite say. Graham guessed most food drives bring in 50 to 75 bags of groceries weighing about 20 pounds each. That would total 1,000 to 1,500 pounds.

"I don't know what a ton of food looks like, but it sounds like a lot," Lewis said. "But the more I think about it, it may not be that much, and we may get several tons."

Either way, Graham said the church's efforts would help LIFT-UP bridge the gap between autumn and the holiday season when food drives and other charitable activities kick into full gear.

"It will be phenomenal when they bring it in. I just can't even imagine unloading a whole truckload of food," Graham said. "We are eagerly anticipating their delivery."

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