Rio Blanco County food banks stretch to meet needs

While poverty has and will always be a part of the human condition, the number of people in the United States struggling to put food on their tables has increased exponentially during the latest economic downturn. But many people, finding themselves in financial turmoil and lacking resources, don’t know where to turn for help.
Breaking Bread Ministry offers a free meal every Thursday, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Richards Hall at St. James Episcopal Church at the corner of Fourth and Park streets in Meeker.
The weekly meal was initiated by the Meeker Ministerial Alliance. Several local churches have teams on rotation to provide the meal, set up and clean up.
“It is completely free to those who come to eat and they are neither required nor asked to bring anything,” explained Pastor Aaron Zielinske from the Meeker Assembly of God church.
Once a month, Food Bank of the Rockies stops in Meeker with its mobile pantry to distribute food boxes to anyone who comes to pick one up. “Anyone is eligible to participate in the mobile pantry. We do not check income level or immigration status. No qualifications, membership fees or eligibility forms to complete,” said media manager Gwen Vogelzang.
Participants are asked to bring bags, boxes and baskets to take their items home in. The mobile pantry delivers non-perishable items, and if available, bread, fresh produce and dairy items. The next delivery date in Meeker is Dec. 8, at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds exhibit hall between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
To donate to Food Bank of the Rockies, visit www.foodbankrockies.org and click “Donate Funds.” You can specify how you want your dollars distributed — children, seniors, Western Slope, etc.
In addition, Meeker and Rangely have food banks that are open to the community. The Meeker Food Bank is located at the Meeker United Methodist Church at 809 Park Ave. The food bank is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rangely’s community food bank is located at the Rangely Assembly of God Church at 204 E. Rio Blanco Ave. (on the east side of the building) and is open on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m. In case of emergency, director Darlene Feller said people in need are welcome to call her at other times during the week, as well.
“The only qualification is that they have to live in the Rangely area,” Feller said. They ask food bank clients to provide some proof of residency. The Rangely Food Bank is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible.
For those who are loosening their belts after their Thanksgiving feast, please remember that donations of non-perishable goods or monetary donations are welcomed at local food banks year-round.