DENVER — The Food Bank of the Rockies is scrambling to get food out the door ahead of a snowstorm expected to bring a few feet of snow to the Front Range and threatening to close food pantries scheduled for the weekend.
Food Bank of the Rockies distributed 71.5 million pounds of food in 2019 and nearly 103 million pounds of food in 2020 — a 44% increase in demand, which hasn’t slowed down since the pandemic hit.
Now, with a severe storm on the way, volunteers are working quickly to get food out to families in desperate need.
“When a storm is about to hit, we see bigger demand — a bigger need — but we also see more urgency,” Erin Pulling, the CEO of Food Bank of the Rockies, said.
To help bring food security, leaders at the food bank have rescheduled food distributions. They’re also continuing to ramp up food box deliveries to older people who won’t be able to leave their homes during the snowstorm.
“We know that hunger still strikes when a storm is hitting,” Pulling said.
Risen Christ Catholic Parish is one of 840 hunger relief partners with Food Bank of the Rockies. On Thursday, dozens of cars lined up early to pick up boxes of food. Alice Bryant arrived one hour early at the food bank on her 80th birthday.
“It’s my birthday, and I normally wouldn’t have come, but I said I can’t afford to go to the grocery store, so let me make sure I get to the food bank,” Bryant said.
She says groceries have gone up in price, stores are packed and money is tight. Bryant also expects transportation to slow down when the storm hits, so she wants to be prepared. She said this trip will provide her with enough food to weather the storm and longer.
"You can live off of it for two weeks," Bryant said.
Lyel Lara says finding work has been tough since the pandemic hit. She didn't have work last year and relies heavily on the food bank to keep food on the table. After this trip, she will be prepared for the storm.
“If I come here, I don’t need to go out,” Lara said. “This is a blessing for us.”
Food Bank of the Rockies anticipates the snowstorm will close food pantries scheduled for this weekend. They’re advising people to visit Food Bank of the Rockies to find a food distribution site ahead of the snowstorm.