Northwest Colorado Food Coalition: Help community by donating to food bank |

Northwest Colorado Food Coalition: Help community by donating to food bank

Russell Goodman
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

I remember the first food bank I ever visited. I was hungry when I walked in the door. I remember the smiling ladies who greeted me, each with equally white hair and bright eyes and green vests with their names embroidered on them. They explained the layout of the shelves and the system of ‘points’ and how to shop. 

I’m sure they recognized my hunger — forged not only in the aching fires of an empty stomach, but in those of an embattled and lost soul. Or maybe, they did not. 

Maybe, they were there simply to serve and did not assess or judge me at all. Maybe, they do not remember me as I remember them. It doesn’t matter. That food bank was a waypoint on my personal journey out of the darkest darkness I have ever known. That was many years ago.

Lately, I begin my mornings with a glance backwards over my shoulder at Mount Werner, a bow of my head in gratitude and the turn of a key in the door at LiftUp of Routt County, where I now manage the food bank. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the strong, compassionate and tireless volunteers that enable our food bank to serve one in 10 families throughout our county. The generosity of this community is evident on our shelves, as the surge in donations seen during the holidays has undeniably strengthened our position as we enter the new year.

I encourage you to weave this thread of giving into our tapestry throughout the coming months as we endeavor to keep our shelves stocked with the food that might one day fully extinguish hunger from our midst.

The act of providing food to another person is a deeply personal and sincere gesture. I embraced this sentiment as a chef, and now, it is my primary mission in the food bank. 

In Colorado, nearly one in 11 people, including almost one in seven children, struggles with not always having enough money to buy food. In modern society, the cheapest calories are the most heavily processed, and organic foods are the most expensive and hardest to obtain. 

I invite you to reject this model out of hand, ensuring that our neighbors in Routt County are secure in the belief that they will have access to healthy food at all times. This requires the minimization of food waste and an adequate supply of healthy food from our gardens and farms. 

At LiftUp, we prevent food waste by ensuring that perishable foods find their way onto our shelves through our restaurant and grocery rescue programs. As we plant and tend our new greenhouse, we will augment the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables we are able to offer by growing them ourselves. 

I hope you will join us in our effort to ensure that none of our neighbors ever knows the frightening and disempowering experience of food insecurity again.

Russell Goodman is the food bank manager at LiftUp of Routt County.

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