AURORA, Colo. — The Village Exchange Center helps the Aurora Community by providing food, and dignity, to its patrons. Every week, volunteers purchase culturally appropriate food for the thousands of people who rely on the organization for nutrition and community engagement.
"We allow them to choose the actual food that they will eat. Because that dignifies who they are and what they actually want as an individual," said Amanda Blaurock, the executive director of The Village Exchange Center. "Part of our mission is celebrating religious and cultural diversity. And what that means for us is that we actually meet people where they are and we see them for who they are."
The organization offers more than just food for the nearly 1,200 families that frequent the building. Many are first generation immigrant families from one of the 26 countries represented. For them, many cultural, nutritional, informational, and even legal services are available.
In February, the Village Exchange Center is adding a major program for help. A community finance program, using money from Adams County, will help hourly workers in Aurora take time off work to quarantine because of an exposure to COVID-19. Applicants can recieve up to $1,500 in order to safely take time off work. The program is currently financed for $250,000. Blaurock hopes to expand it further.
"This will allow us this pilot program to test out how best to do this in the right way and see how quickly we can get the actual funds to our community and allow them to make the right choice to quarantine," she said. "What we learned last year is that there was a huge demographic that were losing their jobs during COVID and were not able to receive unemployment insurance."
Applicants can go to The Village Exchange Center website to find out more.