Community Agriculture Alliance: Feeding yourself, family when times are tight
Routt County is an amazing place to live, work and play. Many people don’t realize that Routt County also has a significant population of folks who struggle to make ends meet. The goal of this article is to let people who struggle to provide food for themselves or their families know what resources are available here in Routt County. It can be stressful and embarrassing to ask for assistance. The agencies discussed in this article work hard to serve people with respect, compassion and understanding during such tough times.
LiftUp of Routt County provides food banks in Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Oak Creek. Each of LiftUp’s food banks has a walk-in section in the front, where anyone who is hungry can walk in and grab some food, without having to register with LiftUp. Routt County residents at 250 percent or lower of Federal Poverty Level can also register to shop in LiftUp’s food banks. LiftUp also administers The Emergency Food Assistance Program for Colorado residents at 185 percent or lower of Federal Poverty Level, as well as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for seniors at 130 percent or lower of Federal Poverty Level. Folks in these programs can register through LiftUp to pick up a box of food commodities each month.
Routt County adults can apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program, or the Colorado Works program through the Department of Human Services. SNAP is now accepted at the Steamboat Springs Farmers Market. Seniors in Routt County can enjoy meals with and can apply for the Meals on Wheels program through the Routt County Council on Aging. Many local churches also provide free meals each week.
There are various food resources for children of low-income families in Routt County. Steamboat Springs, South Routt and Hayden school districts offer a free and reduced lunch program for students, and some schools also offer breakfast. South Routt School District offers a free, hot oatmeal breakfast bar for all students at the secondary campuses. LiftUp of Routt County offers Rocket Pack healthy children’s snack program — served during the school day and at various after school programs — and summer lunch program for children of low-income families.
Anyone can register a child for Rocket Pack through Steamboat Springs School District schools or LiftUp. LiftUp offers free lunches to children of low-income families in the South Routt School District on Fridays when schools are closed. Hayden Totally Kids offers a free breakfast and lunch program during the summer months. Steamboat Sk8 Church provides free meals for children and young adults 12 and older several days each week.
If you or someone you know is struggling to make ends meet, please reach out to one of these local organizations. They are here to serve our neighbors when times get tough, or life takes those unexpected turns.
Sue Fegelein is the executive director of LiftUp of Routt County and co-owner of Powder Day Dounts.
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