Steamboat Springs As former construction workers, brothers Ron and Victor Medina know firsthand the struggles many are facing during the recession of Steamboat's construction- and real-estate-fueled economy.
With gratitude for their steady jobs today as foremen at the Sidney Peak Ranch Equestrian Center, the two men are leading an effort that has two large water troughs overflowing with rice, cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter, pasta and other groceries to be donated to the LIFT-UP of Routt County Food Bank.
"I've had to have people help me in the past," said Victor Medina, who previously worked in Denver but has been with Sidney Peak Ranch for about two years. "Now that I'm fortunate enough to have what I have, I think it's appropriate for me to give back to the community. : As long as there's horses, we'll have a job."
Last year, the equestrian center and its boarders collected food, animal litter, toys and money for the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter. This year's food drive was suggested by Ron Medina, who was inspired by Steamboat Christian Center's efforts to raise a ton of food - literally - for LIFT-UP.
"I figured, why don't we do something to help out?" said Ron Medina, who said he was particularly moved when he heard the food bank was so low on supplies it was having to turn people away. "Our goal was to get half. (Pastor Troy Lewis) will be surprised when we tell him we did our part."
At 494 pounds as of Thursday, the Medinas are about halfway to their goal of collecting a half-ton of food. Ron Medina said he was surprised by the outpouring of support, but barn manager Roxanna Shores is not.
"The boarders are so thankful for these two guys," she said about the brothers.
Steamboat Christian Center's efforts continue through the end of the month, with a big final push on Halloween, when the church will station a cargo truck downtown to accept food donations or cash to buy food. The Medinas and others at the equestrian center are hoping its 40 to 45 boarders will make a final push of their own to hit the 1,000-pound mark.
"There's still a lot of people who haven't brought in food yet," Victor Medina said.
"Buck up and get in here," Shores added.