Food bank prepares move
Community Food Bank will be closed Dec. 17 through Dec. 26 while the nonprofit organization moves from 486 Morning Glory Lane to the new Mesa County Central Services Building at 200 S. Spruce St.
Food Bank Board President Tom Eatwell said he believes the new, centralized location will be more convenient for clients and increase visibility for the food bank.
“It’s going to be easy to find and close to other programs like Catholic Outreach,” Eatwell said. “Because of the visibility, I would expect we’ll see more people. I think it will help on the giving side, too.”
Food donations are steady, but church and individual monetary donations are down 71 percent year-to-date compared to this time last year, Eatwell said. The food bank isn’t as busy as it was in the peak year of 2009, he said, but it still has heavy demand with up to 150 clients a day requesting boxes of food. A single family can request food from the organization up to nine times in one year and there are no income qualifications.
Community Food Bank Program Coordinator Erin Barry said shelves of the juice, margarine, rice, oatmeal, spaghetti, peanut butter and canned meat, soup, veggies and fruit that usually go into each box handed out to families in need are a little thin as donations sink.
“The recession is starting to hit us right now on the donation side,” Barry said.
Barry said the holidays tend to be one of the busiest times of the year for donations. The food bank recently received $20,000 from The Daniels Fund, and the food bank’s largest annual food drive will take place Dec. 14–16 this year, when radio station 95 Rock disc jockeys will camp out in a Dumpster in the Rimrock Walmart parking lot and collect money and food donations. That will help restock the shelves for a few months, Barry said. She also wants to encourage people and businesses to hold drives at other times.
“The time we receive the least amount of donations are the months of May through October ... The need doesn’t end with the holidays,” she said.
The food bank will have a similar setup and the same hours, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, in the renovated building. The food bank will open Dec. 27 in the new location.
The food bank will again share space with two U.S. Department of Agriculture food programs: the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program. The supplemental program provides free food packages to county residents who meet income requirements and either are older than 60, have had a baby within the last year or have a child under the age of 5 at home. The program will be open Dec. 7 through Dec. 16, then close for the move and will reopen at a yet-to-be-determined date in January at the Spruce Street site.
The emergency program provides food each quarter for low-income families in Mesa County and is closed until January, when it will reopen in the new building.
Other Mesa County departments will move into the building in January, according to county spokeswoman Jessica Peterson. Those departments include a motor-vehicle office at Mesa Mall, Public Works administration, Elections and Recording staff, and staff of the planning, engineering, water-quality, and building divisions.
Peterson said the county will be able to end some leases, including one with Mesa Mall for a Department of Motor Vehicles branch, and it plans to sell the 750 Main St. building after the move.