Northwest Colorado Food Coalition: LiftUp saw year of increased need in 2017 | SteamboatToday.com

Northwest Colorado Food Coalition: LiftUp saw year of increased need in 2017

Sue Fegelein and Jeff Modesitt For Steamboat Today

Yampa Valley Health

LiftUp of Routt County provides charitable assistance to meet basic human needs while promoting personal growth and self-sufficiency.

LiftUp has three food banks in Steamboat, Oak Creek and Hayden; each has a walk-in pantry section, where anyone who needs food can get food without registering with LiftUp. 

Routt County residents and seasonal workers can register for any LiftUp program or for full food bank shopping, if they are at 250 percent of federal poverty level. LiftUp also provides emergency financial assistance for housing, utility, health and transportation needs, and provides its clients with vouchers to shop in its thrift store.

LiftUp assists the transient population in Routt County with transportation and food.

In 2016, LiftUp served 2,234 individuals in Routt County with 98,119 pounds of food. LiftUp provided Colorado residents in the county who are 185 percent of FPL with 1,150 Emergency Food Assistance Program food boxes and senior citizens 60 or older at 135 percent of FPL with 335 food boxes through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. 

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LiftUp distributed healthy snacks to 128 school children during the school year and provided summer lunches. LiftUp provided 306 individuals or families with emergency financial assistance.

LiftUp saw an increase in need in 2017. LiftUp distributed 111,179 pounds of bread, dried or canned food and meat and 80,433 pounds of fresh fruits and produce to 2,307 Routt County residents and seasonal workers, plus 175,023 pounds of food through the walk-in pantry sections.

LiftUp distributed 2,319 TEFAP food boxes and 448 senior food boxes in 2017 and assisted 503 individuals or families with utilities, housing, transportation, medical and other emergency issues.

Additionally, LiftUp provided 16,464 healthy snacks to school children through the Rocket Pack program and began serving lunches on Fridays to students in the South Routt School District, where school is not in session on Fridays. LiftUp also provides a summer lunch program for children and served 541 school children with snacks and lunches in 2017.

LiftUp is meeting the increased need in different ways. Its Adopt A Shelf program helps keep consistent foods on the shelves by offering people or businesses the opportunity to sponsor a specific food for a given period of time based on the amount of money the person or business chooses to give, plus they get sponsorship recognition on the shelf.

LiftUp's monthly ProDo fresh food drives at City Market and the Hayden Mercantile provide most of LiftUp's fresh fruits and vegetables. LiftUp collaborates with local grocery stores and restaurants to collect food for the food banks with the help of a dedicated and amazing volunteer core. Last year these volunteers rescued 84,000 meals.

Traditional food drives held by our local businesses, faith groups and associations help provide much needed diversity on LiftUp's shelves.

The generous donations of gently used clothing and housewares that are then sold in LiftUp's Thrift Store provide the primary funding for all of LiftUp's community support programs.

LiftUp's Community Garden/Hoop House will be operational this summer and help provide more fresh foods for the food banks.

LiftUp will continue to work to meet the needs of our Routt County neighbors in 2018.

Sue Fegelein is the executive director of LiftUp of Routt County and Jeff Modesitt is the community support manager of LiftUp of Routt County.