Food Share Program Declares Bankruptcy

‘Share Colorado’ Plans To Reorganize, Reopen

A Colorado food share program that gives discounted meals to needy families has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving thousands of people who depend on it with one fewer place to get help.

The sign at the Share Colorado warehouse in Federal Heights reads, “Sorry, We Are Closed,” but that was news to several families who dropped by to pick up their meals for the week.

What food is left is behind locked doors, trucks to transport food sit empty and volunteers stop by to try to figure out what went wrong.

”It’s heartbreaking. It’s heart wrenching,” said Mike Bernshausen, a Share Colorado volunteer. ”I can’t say enough about the program because it’s a good program”

The nonprofit food share program advertised “Savings Up To 50 Percent” for participants who bought a share and volunteered to help keep the program running.

”You could get all kinds of meat and fixin’s for almost an entire three weeks for about $25,” said Nancy Pallozzi, a Share Colorado participant for the last five years.

She said the organization helped her save money when times were tight. But 7 NEWS has learned the non-profit filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy last week, shut down its operations and started re-organizing.

”It’s going to impact a lot of families financially; thousands of them rely on this service,” said Pallozzi.

The CEO, Bill McKnight of Pueblo, said that orders have been down dramatically because of the economy and the bank would not loan them any more money.

“It brought us to tears over this program,” said McKnight. But those who count on the program said they haven’t heard anything and don’t know where to go now for help.

”There’s people who have paid for food who are not going to get the food. I don’t know if there’s food rotting in this warehouse. You know, you just don’t know what’s going on now,” said Pallozzi. ”It’s time for the community to step up and help those who really do need this program.”

McKnight said Share Colorado is going to let participants know other options.

He said he needs $100,000 to keep the program up and running, but because it has filed for bankruptcy protection during a reorganization, it can’t accept any money or donations until it figures out its financial situation.

Two years ago, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Denver sold Share Colorado to the McKnights. Stephen Carattini, the Chief Operating Officer of Catholic Charities, said that the McKnights might have made it if the economy had not cratered.

“But it was a tough business model to start with,” said Carattini. “It was tough for us to operate it without losing money. That’s partly why we sold it.”