By Liz Alley
Special to The SUN
There is a rural hunger problem in Archuleta County, and many of those affected live in an area 10 miles west of Pagosa Springs called Aspen Springs. This subdivision is the largest in Colorado as measured in acreage (http://www.aspenspringsmetro.org) and within this area live residents who often have a difficult time accessing food.
Feeding America recently released a hunger study called “Map the Meal Gap” which identified 14.3 percent of people in Archuleta County are unsure of where their next meal is going to come from. Those who live in Aspen Springs have additional challenges and sincerely appreciate knowing there is a food pantry nearby.
Aspen Springs Food Pantry helps to close this hunger gap by serving food boxes Wednesdays through Saturdays, as well as free hot lunches every Saturday during summer months.
Volunteers, neighbors, Pastor Mark Disbrow and his wife, Adrienne, as well as a trainee through the Senior Community Service Employment Program, all help to provide healthy food, with no limitations on income or visits per month. If someone needs food, they’ll be able to pick up a food box. Food boxes are also delivered to those who have transportation issues or mobility challenges due to disabilities.
The food pantry has planted a small vegetable garden on site to help supplement food boxes with fresh, organic and local produce.
Aspen Springs Food Pantry is now registered with AmpleHarvest.org as a way for local gardeners to donate any of their excess produce, or if they would simply like to help families in need enjoy fresh, locally grown food. For more information about AmpleHarvest.org and directions to Aspen Springs Food Pantry, visit www.ampleharvest.org/find-pantry.php. Just type 81147 in the search box.
Aspen Springs Food Pantry staff would like to thank the many supporters of this vital and thriving community service. They are Jim Stone with Buffalo Inn, who lends his kitchen every Saturday for free lunches; Dave and Maria Olsen at Turkey Springs Trading Post; Catholic Charities, for a recent cash donation, Manna Soup Kitchen for weekly food donations, Empty Bowls annual fund-raiser, Salvation Army, and many individuals who help keep the Aspen Springs Food Pantry doors open to community residents in need.