Dry conditions leave Summit County’s seasonal workers relying on food pantries
Food Banks and Pantries
FIRC (Silverthorne): Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., (970) 262-3888
FIRC (Breckenridge): Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Dillon Community Church: Mondays and Wednesday, 4:30-5:30 p.m.; Fridays, 1:30-2:30 p.m., (970) 468-2461
Father Dyer Methodist Church: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to noon, (970) 453-2250
Church of Christ: Wednesdays 3:30-5:30 p.m., (970) 668-5072
Free Community Meals
Summit County Rotary Club: Tuesday, 5-7 p.m., 1321 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne
Father Dyer: Sundays, 6-7 p.m., 310 Wellington Road, Breckenridge
St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church: Tuesdays (Seasonally), 6-7 p.m., 100 N. French St., Breckenridge
Source: Summit County Seniors Resource Directory
The most wonderful time of the year is coming up, but for some, the holidays mark a period of stress as they wonder how they will pay the bills and put food on the table.
Churches throughout the county, as well as the Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC), work together to ensure that food pantries and soup kitchens can help to feed those in need. For Thanksgiving, they take special care to make sure that food is available.
“We’re trying to have a little bit fuller shelves for folks,” said Jude Mitchell, the church administrator at the Dillon Community Church.
Between the Dillon Community Church, Church of Christ in Frisco, Father Dyer United Methodist in Breckenridge and FIRC, there is a food bank open each business day.
While the holidays create some demand for families, spikes are normally seen as seasonal workers enter the county. Many come before their job starts and use the food banks and community dinners to help alleviate some of their expenses before their paychecks start coming in.
Delays in snow this year are causing some of the seasonal employees to have fewer hours at work, if they can get them at all. Mitchell said the church in Dillon has been slammed with seasonal workers. The FIRC location in Silverthorne has also been seeing an uptick in people using the food bank due to slow resort hours. Sally Peel, the church administrator at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, said that their community dinners more than doubled in size in the last two weeks. While they typically feed around 45 people, their most recent meal had 110 attendants.
In addition to their Tuesday night community dinner, St. John will be giving out bags of food to families for Thanksgiving. In previous years, the church has done a special community dinner for the holiday. This year, they thought it would be more beneficial to give out holiday meals to families.
“We still wanted to be able to reach out into the community,” Peel said. “It just seemed like something different that we could do this year.”
Jonnah Glassman, the healthy living coordinator at FIRC, said that many of the different food banks have different rules about what people need to bring and how often they can access them. For FIRC, she said it is more of a no-questions-asked policy and that people just need to bring an ID. Families are allowed to use the food bank once per month there.
Glassman said that they receive donations from Whole Foods twice a week and that FIRC is working on creating partnerships with other grocery stores in the county. But they also get donations from individuals and churches in the community.
“It’s the coolest feeling having a community that supports it so much,” she said.
On Thanksgiving, the Summit County Rotary Club will be hosting a Thanksgiving meal. The organization partners with the Summit County Community and Senior Center, which takes some of the food from the meal and delivers it to Mountain Meals on Wheels customers. Laurie Williams, the director of the community center, said that they will also be hosting a Thanksgiving lunch on Nov. 22 at noon. Meal price is based on income. People must call the community center to reserve a spot for the meal by 9 a.m. on Nov. 22. The organization will also host a holiday dinner on Dec. 5, some of the food from this meal will also go to Mountain Meals on Wheels customers. Williams added that this program has a dedicated group of volunteers that delivers meals on Christmas. In the past, Christmas meals have been donated by Backcountry Brewery.
The Copper Mountain Community Church will also host a Thanksgiving meal on Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. The meal is $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and younger. The proceeds from the event go toward the church’s emergency fund, which is used to help Copper Mountain Resort employees. The church has been hosting this meal for more than 20 years.
“The meal is good for locals to feast over a full Thanksgiving dinner,” said Karen Steinbrink, a worship leader at the church.
The Copper Mountain church also does monthly meals for the resort employees, as well as a cookie ministry. The cookie ministry delivers fresh-baked cookies to resort employees. Steinbrink said that at the peak time of the season they deliver as many as 300 cookies.
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