401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Food bank serves 200 needy families monthly

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Photo by Don Benjamin Surface Creek Community Services food bank volunteers sort donated bread in preparation for distribution to those in need. Pictured left to right are: Karen Schuller and Ken Christenson of Cedaredge, and Jeanne Webb of Austin. Christ

For 17 years, the Surface Creek Community Services Food Bank has fulfilled its mission to assist in alleviating hunger for families and individuals in need. The nonprofit food bank, which is located in downtown Cedaredge, is operated by volunteers and managed by a volunteer board of directors.

Every month the food bank provides food to 200 families in the Surface Creek region, distributing food to as many as 560 individuals. A third of those served are children under 18 and a fourth are over the age of 55. The food bank serves qualified families and individuals who reside in Cedaredge, Eckert, Austin and Cory. The food bank uses the emergency food assistance program (TEFAP) guidelines for determining eligibility based on family size and income.

For operating funds, the food bank relies on monetary contributions from churches; donations from individuals, businesses, and service groups; fundraising activities; and grants. In practical terms, the food bank receives about half of its support from area churches and half from individual donations.

In addition to an ongoing need for cash donations, volunteers are essential to the food bank operations. People are needed every week to unload trucks and to sort and distribute food. Up to twenty volunteers are needed on busy days and volunteers donate as many as 500 hours each month. The need is ongoing for individuals to help with these tasks:

• Unloading delivery trucks every Tuesday from 3:30 to 4 p.m.

• Sorting and distributing food every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Sorting and distributing food every Friday from 10 a.m. to noon

Where does the food come from? Most of it is donated and the rest is purchased using contributed funds. Food and other amenities are regularly donated by Safeway and Dollar General. The food bank also receives invaluable year-round assistance from the Food Bank of the Rockies (FBR) that operates a warehouse in Palisade. FBR is a Colorado-based non-profit organization that receives food from supermarkets and other donors. Food bank volunteers drive to Palisade every Tuesday to transport a trailer-load of food and other supplies back to the Cedaredge location.

Other agencies also assist the food bank with contributions. Local U.S. post offices sponsor 'Stamp Out Hunger' drives every year on the second Saturday in May and canned food collected by mail carriers is contributed to the Surface Creek food bank. Twice a year, in spring and fall, Cedaredge Food Town holds a case-lot sale of foodstuffs and food bank volunteers are on hand at the store to encourage customers to contribute a portion of their purchases. And every year a local benefactor donates a generous amount of beef to the food bank.

The Town of Cedaredge is also a vital partner in food bank operations. The town provides 1,500 square feet of space rent-free allowing the food bank to occupy what used to be the ambulance barn and town storage. And, as Christmas approaches, the children of Little Sprouts Preschool collect canned goods that they deliver to the food bank. And employees of Delta County Memorial Hospital band together in a holiday food drive and contribute a portion of their collections to Surface Creek.

Monetary donations to the food bank can be mailed to Surface Creek Community Services, PO Box 963, Cedaredge, CO 81413. Please make checks payable to "Surface Creek Community Services." Those seeking assistance or wishing to volunteer can contact the food bank at 970-856-1125.

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Surface Creek
Cedaredge, Food Bank
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