Those seeking help increases 24% in 2011
In this tough economy, the nine dedicated board members and 49 dedicated volunteers working with the Surface Creek Community Services, Inc. (SCCS) Food Bank, work long and hard to provide food to people in the Surface Creek area needing assistance on a temporary basis.
In one day last November the volunteers distributed 53 dinners to families needing assistance. A record for a normal week-day of operation, according to SCCS vice-president, Nelson Cederberg.
And, according to SCCS Food Bank special projects coordinator and board member, Lisa Pinel, over the years the number of people seeking assistance has continued to increase, rising to 2,205 families (7,064 individuals) served in 2011, up 24 percent from the 1,776 families (5,534 individuals) served in 2010. It has also been noted that in addition to the regular monthly distribution, food bank volunteers distributed a record 275 holiday dinner boxes in December.
During the Food Bank's annual meeting on Monday, Jan. 9, it was noted that the Food Bank serves the four zip codes (Austin-81410, Cedaredge-81413, Cory-81414 and Eckert-81418) that make up the Upper Surface Creek area, along with the unincorporated areas of Delta County included in those zip codes.
It was also noted that, up until now, families needing assistance were given an "emergency" box of food once per month that contained three meals, per person, per day, for four days. Those boxes contain food staples as well as a variety of other food items. The Food Bank purchases food staples, meat and other food from the Food Bank of the Rockies. The Delta Safeway Store donates bread, pastries, dairy products and some canned goods, four days per week via an agreement with the Sharing Ministries Program. The Cedaredge Community Garden and local fruit growers donate fresh produce and fruit in season, and the Cedaredge Food Town provides a donation box year-round for customers to donate purchased food items.
Local businesses, schools, churches and other organizations support the food bank through fund raisers, food drives and cash donations. The building from which the Food Bank operates is provided by the Town of Cedaredge at no charge. The Food Bank board has also applied for and received funding from grants, and this year, five cows from a local dairy were donated to the food bank, to be processed into hamburger. The Food Bank holds two food drives per year, and they have also approached the Delta County Commissioners with a request that they put the SCCS in their budget, as a line item.
Pinel explained that the SCCS (a non-profit organization) is 100 percent donor funded, with absolutely no federal assistance. The down side? According to the information provided at the annual meeting, monetary donations have dropped off since August of 2011, and with the unprecedented increase in the number of families and individuals (more than doubled since 2007) needing assistance, the board had to use money from a money market account established to meet emergency needs.
According to Cederberg monetary donations in 2011 were not enough to meet expenses. Cederberg said the expenses for 2011 exceeded revenues by $4,000. That "shortfall" has resulted in a decision by the SCCS board to cut the monthly emergency food boxes back to three meals, per person, per day, for three days in 2012.
In a recap of the food bank's accomplishments in 2011, given to board members during the annual meeting, SCCS President Jean Weisbeck states, "With the economy still lagging and seemingly getting worse, many [people] have been laid off from work and just need help temporarily and some are temporarily or permanently disabled. Multi-family households are on the increase. Many come and go, and some need sustained assistance."
Weisbeck continued, "There are a myriad of reasons [that] families need food assistance. As long as this community will support this endeavor and feels it is needed, we as a board will continue to work to provide food and outer wear to those in need."
To help the food bank meet those needs, the Cedaredge High School ASTRA Club will be sponsoring a "SOUPER BOWL" the week of January 30th to February 3rd, where they will challenge other clubs in the school to see who can collect the most items for the Food Bank, according to CHS Astra Advisor, Amanda Twamley. Pinel also noted that during the annual meeting, Pam Wiltsie was elected to fill a board vacancy.
For more information regarding the food bank, or to make a donation, call SCCS President Jean Weisbeck at 856-1143.blog comments powered by Disqus