LIFT-UP reopens ‘pantries of choice’ in New Castle |

LIFT-UP reopens ‘pantries of choice’ in New Castle

Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork students help bag food at the LIFT-UP warehouse in Parachute.
Submitted / Debbie Patrick

Individuals dealing with food insecurity will have a bit more of a menu to choose from come mid-July.

LIFT-UP, a grassroots organization that provides humanitarian needs across Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties, announced plans earlier last week to gradually reopen fixed “pantries of choice” sites throughout the summer, a LIFT-UP news release states.

Pantries of choice offer clients the option to select nonperishable, fresh produce, meat and dairy items that were otherwise unavailable during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clients were previously offered pre-packaged bags throughout the pandemic

“It’s exciting because as we all are emerging from COVID, we are being able to reopen pantries as they were prior to COVID,” LIFT-UP Marketing and Development Director Debbie Patrick said. “… Some people find they’re more comfortable going through a mobile option, drive-thru. get a bag of food and move on. And other people really like to be able to go into the pantry and choose their food, both non-perishable and fresh.”

During the pandemic, LIFT-UP food pantries were being used as mobile distribution sites. Clients could simply drive up to a site and receive a food package.

Starting July 14, however, the LIFT-UP food pantry in New Castle will once again offer its pantries-of-choice options. Carbondale and Glenwood Springs LIFT-UP pantries are scheduled to reopen in August, while Rifle’s pantry is slated to open in September, the release states.

Patrick said reopening the food pantries with choices should help clients feel more comfortable and less nervous about coming back to the sites in person.

“It broadens the opportunities for people to find their comfort level and how they’re going to get food,” she said. “Our goal is to get more people more food in the most efficient manner. This gives them a choice between mobile and the pantry.”

The Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork School in Carbondale recently raised more than $16,000 for LIFT-UP to purchase a much-needed forklift.

“The kids, they were breaking piggy banks and things to help raise this money,” LIFT-UP Marketing and Development Director Debbie Patrick said.

Students spent the last day of school visiting the LIFT-UP warehouse in Parachute. There, a food packing contest was held, which allowed people to see the new forklift in action.

Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork School students pose for the camera during their visit to the LIFT-UP warehouse in Parachute.
Submitted / Debbie Patrick

Parachute will remain a mobile distribution site at this time, as the facility currently serves as the warehouse for all mobile-bag packing and food storage sites, the release states.

No appointment or identification is needed. Clients are asked to provide basic information including their name, home address and number and ages of adults and children in the household.

As far as trends are concerned, LIFT-UP has come a long way since October 2020, a time when LIFT-UP distributed more than 1 million pounds of food.

“People can have a health crisis and end up being in a food-insecure situation, the loss of a job,” Patrick said. “We see all walks of life. We see all ages, from teens to seniors, from veterans to disabled.”

“You’ll see people that walk up in a suit — that might be the only clothes they have left,” Patrick added.

Since then, Patrick said LIFT-UP has seen the number of clients decrease recently.

“As we’re emerging from COVID, we are seeing a downtrend in numbers closer to how they were prior to COVID,” she said. “And then also, some of the mobile pantries that are being distributed with partners are reducing the frequency.”

According to data provided by LIFT-UP, more than 22,000 individuals have been provided food from the nonprofit between January and May 2021.

The food is purchased from Food Bank of the Rockies, donated through the Grocery Rescue program provided by Garfield County, and then food drives are hosted, as well as purchased, through LIFT-UP’s Farm to Food Pantry program.

Drive-thru (mobile) food distributions will continue providing pre-packed food bags at sites in Carbondale, Glenwood, New Castle, Parachute and Rifle, as well as at walk-up distribution from the LIFT-UP Aspen Pantry, the release states.

In addition, LIFT-UP Extended Table (soup kitchens) will be moving back inside and will be either grab-n-go or buffet service. Glenwood Springs has already reverted to this format, and Rifle Extended Table will begin on Tuesday, July 13, the release states. Guests are asked to respect social distancing guidelines, and nonvaccinated persons are requested to wear a mask.


What: Pantry of choice

Where: LIFT-UP Aspen Pantry, 465 N. Mill St.

When: 4-6 p.m. Tuesdays, July 6, 13, 20 and 27


What: Drive-thru mobile

Where: Third Street Center, 520 S. Third St.

When: 4-6 p.m. Wednesdays, July 7, 14, 21 and 28; and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 10

Glenwood Springs

What: Drive-thru mobile

Where: Glenwood Church of Christ, 260 Soccer Field Roa.

When: 4-6 p.m. Thursdays, July 8 and 22; 1:30-2:30 p.m. Saturdays, July 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31

Also: Extended Table

Where: First United Methodist Church, 824 Cooper Ave.

When: 5-6 p.m. Monday through Friday

New Castle

What: Drive-thru mobile

Where: Cristo La Roca Church, 880 Castle Valley Blvd.

When: 4-6 p.m. Thursdays, July 1 and 15; noon to 2 p.m. June 24

Also: Pantry of choice

Where: 126 N. Fourth St.

When: starts July 14; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.Wednesdays and Fridays


What: Drive-thru mobile, Rifle Fairgrounds

When: 4-6 p.m. Fridays, July 2 and 16; 10-11 a.m. Saturdays, July 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31

Extended Table

Rifle United Methodist Presbyterian Church

5-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursdays

Meal Monkey Fridays (free student lunch)


11 a.m. Davidson

11:30 a.m. Cottonwood

Noon Joyce Park

12:30 p.m. Centennial Park


What: Drive-thru mobile, LIFT-UP Warehouse

Where: 201 E. First St.

When: 4-6 p.m. Fridays, July 9 and 23; noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 17

*SANA managed distribution

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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