Montrose food bank tries to meet need

Volunteers at Sharing Ministries food bank in Montrose sort through hundreds of pounds of donated bread and produce at the facility on North Rio Grande in Montrose. “Demand is up because of the economy, and donations are down because of the economy,” the director says.

MONTROSE — Oneda Doyal watches from an office window as people enter and leave, pushing shopping carts full of donated food — three days’ worth to be exact.

As the executive director of the Sharing Ministries food bank, 121 N. Rio Grande Ave. in Montrose, she sees firsthand the struggle some endure to obtain one of life’s most basic necessities: something to eat.

This year, as in years past, Doyal and nearly 160 volunteers are trying to meet rising demand as the days until Christmas dwindle.

“Demand is up because of the economy, and donations are down because of the economy,” Doyal said.

Behind the scenes at Sharing Ministries, volunteers work together as one, large sorting machine. Hundreds of pounds of bread, canned goods and produce such as apples, green peppers and salad greens form a large smorgasbord.

“We try and provide the most nutritional food as possible,” Doyal said.

A number of large stores, including City Market, Safeway, Wal-Mart and Target, provide the bulk of the food bank’s reserves. Sharing Ministries also works with local farmers and ranchers for produce, meat and some dairy products, and it asks local bakeries for leftover bread and pastries.

Doyal said the food is rotated daily, so the freshest foods are distributed accordingly.

Each person can pick up a box containing enough food for three meals a day for three days.

“We’d like to do more, but with the economy the way it is, it’s the best we can do,” Doyal said.

One of the larger demands this year, according to Doyal, is an increase in personal-hygiene products.

“We provide for five counties,” she said. “We are the largest food bank in western Colorado, and we are the sixth-largest in Colorado.”

No appointment is necessary to deliver or pick up food. The food bank’s hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Call 240-8385 for information.


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