Demand for resources high as more than 600 locals apply for rent help
Hundreds show up to food pantries ahead of holidays
The most wonderful time of the year has turned into the most trying time of their lives for many people in Summit County as an increasing number are seeking out resources as the novel coronavirus pandemic rages on.
Local nonprofit organizations like the Family & Intercultural Resource Center are seeing that most acutely with demand for food and requests for financial help to pay the rent continuing to be high. Since Dec. 3 the nonprofit has seen 608 people requesting rental assistance via the organization’s online application, said Executive Director Brianne Snow on Friday, Dec. 18.
Snow said 77% of the people who have applied report working in the restaurant or food service industry, 89% of the applicants have lived or worked in Summit County for longer than a year and 50% of them have worked or lived in Summit County for five years or more. She added that the resource center has already paid out $375,000 in rental relief over the last three weeks.
“We have … probably right around $400,000 in requests processing and going through,” Snow added. “We will probably get through that in the next two to three weeks.”
Snow said the rental requests people submitted are for December and January rent payments. She added that amid the high demand, the organization is ultimately meeting it as they continue to work with Summit County and local town governments, The Summit Foundation and individual donors.
“There is a little lag, but ultimately we have to go through the process,” Snow said. “We have to ensure that the right person is getting the money and staying in the community. Once all is said and done, we’re saying ‘yes’ to whatever we can. There are some instances where we cannot approve, but those are very few and far between.”
Snow said the resource center is seeing the increase at their food pantries as well, which will be closed Monday through Thursday this week leading up to Christmas in part to help their staff recharge.
“My staff has been going hardcore since March 15 with no slowdown,” Snow said. “Everyone is really fatigued.”
She said they can “definitely tell” that the service industry is being hit hard by a lack of work hours or job loss. Snow said sometimes it’s been surprising how many people show up. On Tuesday, 220 total people came to the week’s lone evening food pantry in advance of this coming week’s hiatus. That number is comparable to spring numbers during the height of quarantine and a sizable spike from the nonprofit’s recent average of around 100 people.
The resource center isn’t currently struggling to meet demand, though. Snow added that “as fast as we can stock, it is as fast as it goes.” She said they were able to give out some grocery store gift cards to help people get through the holiday closure.
Snow said right now the pantry is seeing more restaurant workers than ski industry workers.
Editor’s note: Some of these community resources have adjusted their hours for Christmas, anyone interested in seeking services is encouraged call to verify availability.
Community Food and Meals
Family and Intercultural Resource Center (Canceled through Christmas week)
• Breckenridge: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month
• Silverthorne: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month
Father Dyer Church
• 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays
• Prepackaged meals Sunday evenings
Dillon Community Church
• 4-5:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays
• 1:30-2:30 p.m. Fridays
Summit Community and Senior Center
• Call 970-668-2940 for Meals on Wheels Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays
Food Bank of the Rockies
The Rotary Club of Summit County
• Prepackaged meals on Tuesday evenings
The Church at Agape Outpost
• 970-453-1247, ext.101
• Meals, shower and laundry services from 1-4 p.m. Mondays. Additional hours by appointment
Cash And Food Assistance
• Call the Family & Intercultural Resource Center at 970-262-388, or Summit County Human Services at 970-668-9160
• Call Summit County Public Health to enroll, 970-668-9199 (English) or 970-668-9701 (Spanish)
Mental Health And Recovery
Building Hope Summit County
• Call 970-389-1151 (English) or 970-485-6271(Spanish)
Family & Intercultural Resource Center Mental Health
• Call 970-262-3888
Recovery Support and Alcoholics Anonymous
• Call 970-453-1247
“A lot of folks, when we shut down in March, they had no idea of this public support,” Snow said. “They weren’t the type of people to access them. Our workforce is one largely where if they need extra income, they just go out and seek an additional job.”
Snow said they also helped 50 local families with the Summit Family Christmas program, an initiative that helps families supply items on kids’ wish lists and provides gift cards.
Over at Father Dyer Church in Breckenridge, Rev. Calob Rundell said the food pantry will be open through the coming week. He said since the ski slopes opened, the church’s pantry has seen an increase in community dinner attendees. Last Sunday Father Dyer served more than 100 meals, which Rundell said is right around the church’s maximum number. Still, he added that the pantry “will never run out of food.”
Karen Johns of Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Dillon said the church is using more financial resources than ever to help people. That includes requests for help with things like rental assistance and utility payments. The church also provides hot meals and showers a couple of days a week to local homeless residents.
“This has been an unprecedented year,” Johns said. “We have never seen the demand we see right now. And since the weather’s gotten cold, it’s gotten even worse. People are living in their cars here in the High Country, with no jobs and no food. They are freezing, but they are here.”
Dillon Community Church Pastor Jim Howard said demand for resources has risen considerably this year. He said the church’s food bank has given out 4,000 meals already in 2020. Howard said the church is still able to meet meal demand despite a recent uptick.
The church’s Benevolence Committee has also raised funds to help locals pay rent who have lost their jobs, had their hours reduced or been furloughed. Howard added that the church is working with local businesses and restaurants to help employees, including designating Christmas Eve offerings from churchgoers specifically to helping restaurant workers.
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