New South Routt Initiative group organizes local food drive |

New South Routt Initiative group organizes local food drive

OAK CREEK — A new organization, the South Routt Initiative, has stepped up to organize a food drive to benefit South Routt LiftUp.

The organization was created in March by three residents of South Routt, Tracey Melton, Sheila Symons and David Bonfiglio.

“We created the South Routt Initiative as a result of COVID-19,” Melton said. “We knew we wanted to do something, anything, to help people during this time. It seems like there are a lot of organizations in Steamboat but nothing that is only for residents of South Routt, so we wanted to provide something for our community.”

Melton, Symons and Bonfiglio lead a team of volunteers that help Oak Creek, Yampa, Toponas and Phippsburg residents who have questions about resources, need help with shopping and mail pickup or other tasks.

Several weeks ago, the organization partnered with Circle R Gastropub in Oak Creek to provide meals to residents in need.

“The meals went fast, and everyone was very appreciative,” Melton said.

Their next idea involved hosting a local food drive. It will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on Main Street in Oak Creek.

“We are asking that people donate perishable and nonperishable items,” Melton said. “We want to make it clear that we can accept perishable items like meat, milk and fresh produce as well as canned and boxed goods.”

All donations must be sealed and unopened. In addition to food, other suggested items include pet food, baby products, hygiene products and cleaning products.

The food drive will also help support local businesses. People are encouraged to buy an item from a local store, such as Bonfiglio’s or Select Super Market in Oak Creek, Flat Tops Ranch Supply in Phippsburg or Montgomery’s General Merchandise in Yampa to donate to the drive. There is also the option to purchase a gift certificate from a local restaurant, which will then provide a meal for a family in need.

“We decided that we might as well try to help everyone if we’re doing the food drive,” Melton said. “That includes people in need, local businesses and local restaurants.”

Gift certificates from Antlers Cafe & Bar, Circle R Gastropub, Kate’s Café and Colorado Bar and Grill will be available in advance and day-of purchase. The Silver Buckle Saloon in Oak Creek will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday for pick up of pizzas to donate or gift certificates.

The organization is also accepting monetary donations itself, which will go to South Routt Economic Development Council or to South Routt LiftUp. Checks can be mailed or brought to the food drive.

Those who are donating to the drive are asked to wear masks and gloves, if possible, when dropping off items. Volunteers will also be wearing masks, gloves and practicing social distancing. They ask that all donations be in bags or boxes.

“A volunteer will take any items from the car, so people don’t even have to get out,” Melton explained. “And for people who are on foot, cones will be set up so that it’s clear where to go.”

Melton anticipates South Routt Initiative will remain up and running long after the pandemic ends.

“We want to be able to help people if something else happens, or if someone’s house catches on fire, and they’re homeless,” she said. “We have had so many volunteers step up to the plate and offer to help. This is a good thing to have in our community, and you never know what’s going to happen.”

Checks can be made payable to either South Routt LiftUp or SREDC and mailed to: P.O. Box 1091, Oak Creek 80467. Visit or call 970-846-0567 for more information.

Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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