Pandemic Pivot: Getting food on the table during times of need

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    By Simone Mounsamy
    Staff Writer

    Bouncing back from hardships can require support from unexpected places.

    New challenges have arisen during the pandemic, such as being quarantined, losing work or being without resources.

    Listed below are some resources that may help bring food to the table amidst such hardships.

    The Food Coalition

     There are six food pantries in the Food Pantry Network of Archuleta County’s Food System Food Equity Coalition (Food Coalition).

    Locations include: downtown Pagosa Springs (Methodist Church), Aspen Springs (Amazing Grace), Arboles (TARA Community Center), and three in uptown Pagosa Springs (Catholic Church, Episcopal Church and Restoration Fellowship).

    The Food Coalition serves 250-350 households per week through the pantries and Meals on Wheels, according to its website, foodcoalition4archuleta.org.

    The Food Coalition works alongside Loaves and Fishes and the Pagosa Springs Senior Center. 

    The Food Coalition’s Food Pantry Network Web page provides a week-calendar structure of the food service days offered by the six food pantries in the Food Pantry Network, Loaves and Fishes and the Senior Center. 

    Senior Center

    The Senior Center supplies grab-and-go congregate meals to registered seniors via its drive-thru Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. Call in before 9 a.m. to reserve one of those meals.

    It also offers the congregate meals delivered to people who cannot get out or do not wish to get out due to COVID or the weather. The county bus delivers those meals. 

    This facility can be reached at 264-2167.

    Through the Simple Nutrition program, Senior Center Coordinator Cheryl Wilkinson said, “We provide extra nutrition for our 60-and-better population with items like Boost, yogurt, nuts, cheese sticks, bacon, eggs and frozen meals for an extra snack or another meal for the day.”

    The Senior Center delivered about 100 holiday boxes last year, according to Wilkinson, and it is regrouping to deliver boxes again. The upcoming boxes will contain smaller presentations (as many 60-and-better consumers do not have enough storage space for big boxes of food), be delivered more often and will contain more perishable food items like fresh fruits and vegetables. 

    See psseniors.org for more information as it becomes available.
    Loaves and Fishes

    Loaves and Fishes provides hot curbside meals each Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. near the entrance of the Parish Hall at 449 Lewis St. 

    In addition to these take-out meals, frozen food and other food is typically available to those who need it. 

    The organization also provides access to community services and resources to those in need.

    Loaves and Fishes can be contacted at 731-0895 and its website is loavesandfishespagosa.org. 

    Community United
    Methodist Church

    Community United Methodist Church (CUMC) is located at 434 Lewis St. and can be reached at 264-5508. Access CUMC’s website at cumcps.org. 

    CUMC’s food pantry is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.

    Amazing Grace
    Community Church

    Open Wednesday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Aspen Springs Food Pantry is located at Amazing Grace Community Church at 77 Navajo Circle and can be reached at 444-2111. Its website is amazinggracecc.org. 

    Aspen Springs Food Pantry can deliver for those with transportation challenges in Aspen Springs. 

    There are no restrictions at Aspen Springs Food Pantry, according to Pastor Mark Disbrow, who also noted to be sure to call in food emergencies. 

    TARA Community Center

    The TARA Community Center food pantry is open Monday and Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m.

    It is located at 333 Milton Lane in Arboles and can be reached at 883-0017. Ask for Susan Halkin, TARA food pantry coordinator. 

    The community center is currently serving food through pick-up only. Go by and fill out an order form from the free library box outside the center.

    Pope John Paul II
    Catholic Church

    The Pope John Paul II food pantry is open Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon and can be reached at 731-5744. It is located at the Pope John Paul II Catholic Church at 353 South Pagosa Blvd. 

    The food pantry provided 35 Thanksgiving meals this past year, according to the food pantry page of its website (http://demo.popejohnpauliichurch.org). 

    Thanks to the Food Consortium and Care and Share of Colorado, these meals were provided at minimal cost to the church.

    The church would like to thank its donors for all the monetary donations that keep the food pantry staffed. 

    St. Patrick’s
    Episcopal Church 

    St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church is located at 225 South Pagosa Blvd. and can be reached at 731-5801. Its website is stpatrickspagosa.org. 

    Its food pantry is open Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.

    St. Patrick’s food pantry provides food boxes to 30-40 families every Thursday and Friday, according to the website’s Food for Our Community page. Clients also receive fresh and frozen foods contributed by area grocery stores. 

    St. Patrick’s food pantry is funded through donations, fundraising projects and grants.

    There are a number of jobs associated with running the food pantry. Contact Wendy McAllister for staffing.

    Restoration Fellowship

    The food pantry offered by Restoration Fellowship is open Monday 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

    Restoration Fellowship is located at 264 Village Drive and can be reached at 731-2937.

    More food support 

    There are more ways to get food support in the community: 

    • The Food Coalition, in collaboration with Pagosa Medical Group, Axis Health, San Juan Basin Public Health, the Senior Center, Loaves and Fishes, and Wilderness Journey, is offering food support to those who are COVID positive and/or quarantined and are in need of food. Nutritious fresh and frozen meals and entrees are available.

    Please send an email to food@fsfearchuleta.org to request meals.

    • The Senior Center is working in partnership with the Food Coalition to provide meals to adults who aren’t eligible for support through a different program. Patients convalescing after hospitalization, disabled adults age 59 and younger, and veterans who require nutrition assistance are supported. 

    To discuss availability through this new food response effort, send an email to food@fsfearchuleta.org.