South Routt food drive raises over $12K |

South Routt food drive raises over $12K

South Routt Initiative's recent food drive gathered over $12,000 in donations for local LiftUp food bank.

OAK CREEK — The South Routt food drive, which was held in Oak Creek a week ago, raised over $12,000 worth of donations including food, meals and other items.

The drive was hosted by the new South Routt Initiative, an organization founded by three members of the South Routt Community — Tracey Melton, David Bonfiglio and Sheila Symons. Formed as a result of COVID-19, the trio saw a need within their smaller community to provide assistance to residents of South Routt. The organization offers help in the form of meals, grocery delivery and communication during this difficult time. 

Melton said donations are still coming in.

The food drive, which took place on Main Street in Oak Creek, saw nine truckloads of food and personal items donated, as well as 50 pounds of meat contributed by a local ranch.

“The generosity and support we received was overwhelming,” Melton said. “We got donations not only from people and businesses in Oak Creek but also from Steamboat, Craig and many other areas throughout Colorado. We want to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation for everyone who donated.”

Over a dozen volunteers helped with set up and tear down, as well as collecting donations from cars, sorting them and delivering them to South Routt LiftUp, which was the main benefactor of the drive.

“It was hugely helpful,” said Sherry Nelson-Tuttle, who runs South Routt LiftUp. “It was getting to be a little slim pickings over here, and after the drive, we had nearly 2,000 pounds of food, personal items and cleaning supplies, plus over $8,000 in donations. This is going to help feed a whole lot of people.”

Nelson-Tuttle said this branch of LiftUp has seen a big increase in people looking for assistance in the past few months, including help with rent, paying bills or providing food for their families.

Oak Creek Mayor Nikki Knoebel said South Routt will benefit hugely from having an organization like the South Routt Initiative.

“The response we got at the drive was overwhelming,” Knoebel said. “I was in awe of people helping people. We have such a great community.”

One unique aspect to the food drive was that it helped support small South Routt businesses as well. People were encouraged to buy food from Oak Creek’s Select Super Market to donate or purchase a gift card from a local restaurant to help feed a family in need.

After seeing such success in one day, the South Routt Initiative is excited to continue to help the community in the future.

“While this organization was formed as a result of COVID-19, we plan to stick around much longer,” Melton said.

Next up is a Winter Gear Drive, which will take place in September.

“We will be taking men’s, women’s and children’s coats, hats, snow pants, gloves and boots as well as blankets and shovels,” Melton said. “If you’re cleaning out your closets over the summer, keep us in mind.”

Monetary donations to South Routt Initiative are always welcome and should be given by visiting or mailing a check to South Routt Initiative, P.O. Box 33, Oak Creek CO 80467. If you are in need of assistance, have questions or would like to volunteer, email or call 970-846-0567.

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

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