LiftUp asks donors to sponsor ramen, beans, cereal through new program | SteamboatToday.com

LiftUp asks donors to sponsor ramen, beans, cereal through new program

Teresa Ristow

A $700 donation from City Market allowed the business to sponsor canned pork and beans and pineapple chunks for LiftUp of Routt County food bank customers.

— LiftUp of Routt County is getting creative in its approach to attract new donors to stock its busy food pantries in Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek and Hayden.

The organization is now encouraging local donors to sponsor a particular food or item in the food bank — such as adopting canned corn or strawberry jelly for a month or a year.

The new Adopt-A-Shelf program kicked off in early February, and already, donors have stepped up to sponsor peas, tuna, pineapple and other items, ensuring those foods remain well-stocked in the organization's pantries through 2017.

"The costs are high in this county, and the need is great," said Jeff Modesitt, interim food bank manager.

Modesitt said donors are encouraged to pay for the food upfront and allow LiftUp to purchase it, though it is also acceptable if a donor wants to purchase the food and provide it to the organization.

"Our buying power is so much stronger, so that's why we're asking for cash contributions," Modesitt said.

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An example would be to sponsor cheesy tuna pasta dinners for $23.76 per month or $285.12 per year or a big ticket item, such as toilet paper for $300 per month of $3,600 per year.

The sponsored items will be available to the nearly 2,000 people who shop at the organization's food banks annually.

In 2016, LiftUp distributed more than 275,000 pounds of food through its food bank and an additional 13,000 pounds — including bread, milk and veggies — in the pantry free section.

Modesitt said the organization estimates 10 to 12 percent of Routt County's population visits the food bank annually.

Making food assistance more self-sufficient through the Adopt-A-Shelf program is a goal that would allow LiftUp to focus more of its resources on housing assistance, according to board president Bob Schuellein.

"The biggest need is housing, and this program frees up money for that," Schuellein said.

To adopt a shelf at LiftUp, donors can visit liftuprc.org and click on "How you can help,” then follow the prompts to make a donation.

Donors can also call Modesitt at 970-870-8804.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow