by Arlene Shovald
Special to The Mail
Salida Community Center, 305 F St., continues to facilitate various food programs in the local area.
The newest of these programs, the Community Corner Food Pantry, is being provided by a $40,000 grant from the Colorado Food Pantry.
“This program will enable us to provide specific nutritious foods to people in the community,” said Elaine Allemang, director of the Center. “If anyone needs specific healthy food items I invite them to call me sat 719-539-3351. We’ll be working with other non profits of the area to make sure we help as many people as possible.”
Some examples include whole milk, eggs, flour, almond milk, broccoli, gala apples, pasta and food for special diets such as gluten free flour, dairy free and sugar free items.
“We purchase all these foods locally and invite any local producers or businesses who want to participate to contact us at the Center,” Allemang said. “We want to keep this grant money in the community.”
Another program, called the “Next Fifty,” has provided a $25,000 grant for the Center to purchase a refrigerator, stove, shelving and a vehicle and trailer to deliver the food.
“We’re looking for a vehicle and a 16 foot trailer,” Allemang said. “We deliver a lot of food to Buena Vista and Nathrop. If anyone can help with this we’d like them to also call the Center at 719-539-3351.”
Food for the Community Corner Food Pantry will be distributed at the Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month March through June.
Other food programs they provide include the monthly TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) for low income individuals and families and Commodity Supplemental Food Program for low income seniors. The supplement food program currently provides food to more than 157 seniors in Chaffee County.
The Salida Community Center works with KHEN Radio station on School Pantry Distribution to provide food to students and the Central Colorado Humanists work with the Center to provide families in need with self-care items like shampoo, soap, deodorant etc. They also work with the Ark-Valley Humane Society shelter to provide pet food.
The Center also served more than 600 people for Thanksgiving dinner and more than 500 on Christmas Day at no charge.
“Our gracious donors, volunteers and sponsors have helped make these things possible,” Allemang said. “We’re grateful to have such great partners and appreciate the funds they contribute.
“With the breakage of the water pipe at the Center last August and the repairs still not done, it’s made handling these programs more difficult.
“With the help of our great volunteers we’re keeping up with the food programs. However since the repair isn’t complete we still cannot rent the facility out so our income is reliant on donations at this time.
“Hopefuly we’ll be able to open our doors for rentals sometimes in March.”