Garfield County approves emergency food assistance
- Parachute Thurs., 2 p.m. LIFT-UP Food Pantry – 201 E. First St.
- Rifle Wed. & Fri., 2 p.m. NEW LOCATION – Rifle Fairgrounds
- New Castle Wed. & Fri., 2 p.m. Elk Creek Elementary School Parking Lot
804 W. Main St.
- Glenwood Mon. & Thurs., 2 p.m. Glenwood Springs High School, South Parking Lot
- Carbondale Mon. & Thurs., 2 p.m. Third Street Center Parking L
Aspen/Pitkin County: On Wednesday March 25 & April 1st, beginning at noon, at Aspen High School. Food Bank of the Rockies in partnership with Aspen Family Connection will handle distribution of food for Aspen/Pitkin County from Aspen Schools. LIFT-UP will assist with providing fresh produce and dairy as available. For more information on this distribution site, please visit http://www.PitkinCounty.com.
Mid-valley: LIFT-UP and their key partners are working on a mid-valley distribution location. Please continue to check the liftup.org website for updates. Please do not call the office for information.
County commissioners extended the coronavirus pandemic local disaster emergency Monday, and authorized a $100,000 emergency food assistance grant to LIFT-UP to help ensure no one in the county goes hungry.
LIFT-UP is in the process of developing plans to increase distribution at mobile pop-ups across the county.
Last year, LIFT-UP served 625 families per month on average, but the new grant would allow them to serve far more as people deal with the medical, and economic costs of COVID-19.
“With this new plan, we believe we would be able to serve 700 families every week,” Angela Mills, executive director of LIFT-UP, told the commissioners by phone at Monday’s meeting.
The commissioners unanimously approved the emergency grant given the importance of food security in uncertain economic times.
“I don’t want anybody to go hungry during this in Garfield County,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said.
If additional funding is required to make that happen, Jankovsky said LIFT-Up should return to request it.
“If for some reason you have to go up to 800 or 900 families per week, then do that and come back for additional funding,” Jankovsky said.
LIFT-UP will begin distributing the meals two days per week in most cities and towns in Garfield County, and once per week in Parachute.
In Rifle, distribution will take place at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.
The distribution process would also be similar LIFT-Up’s Friday’s distribution, with drive-up pickup, and very little contact with intake staff.
LIFT-UP’s Extended Table program has shifted to a grab-and-go prepared meal kit.
Jankovsky also said it would be prudent to plan on the increased distribution through the month of May, as the economic recovery from social distancing could last for some time after the peak of the pandemic.
The county’s emergency reserve fund currently has more than $3 million. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office also has access to $500,000 for declared emergencies. That fund is usually used to deal with wildfire emergencies.
The county’s new disaster emergency declaration extends the March 17 declaration indefinitely by tying it to Colorado’s state of emergency.
For now, Garfield County’s emergency declaration regarding COVID-19 will be in place until the state says it’s lifted, but the resolution “also allows the commissioners to at any point take charge of it, and make your own decision too,” county attorney Tari Williams said.
The Garfield County Public Health Department has also aligned their orders with Gov. Jared Polis’ orders to maintain consistency.
The state’s orders change from day to day as the pandemic response shifts, Garfield County Public Health director Yvonne Long told the commissioners.
Aligning the local orders to the state’s orders made sense to reduce confusion and local staff efforts, Long said.
“We felt at this particular time that was the better way to go, rather than try to rewrite them every day,” Long said.
To volunteer with LIFT-UP, call 970-456-2804. LIFT-UP is also looking for donations of new reusable shopping bags and nonperishable food items.
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Update at 9:45 p.m.: I-70 is open westbound at MM 114, West Glenwood. Eastbound remains closed at MM 105, New Castle, for an estimated 5-7 hours.