‘A Godsend’ for hungry Rifle residents
Citizen Telegram Editor
With her service dog, Sandy, trotting alongside, Kate Andreatta of Rifle strolled out of light, falling snow and into the Extended Table meal site.
“This place has been a Godsend to me,” she said, shortly after taking a seat at a table in the Rifle United Methodist Presbyterian Church annex on Fourth Street, with fresh, hot food on a real plate with real silverware — not paper and plastic — in front of her.
“I live in the Rifle Senior Housing by myself and cooking for one is a challenge,” Andreatta added, as Sandy sat at her feet. “Here, there’s good people to eat with and talk to. And the food’s always great.”
The Extended Table is held each Tuesday and Thursday night by LIFT-UP, the nonprofit charity that helps people across Garfield County. Life Interfaith Team on Unemployment and Poverty was formed in 1982 and started the Extended Table meals on Tuesdays in Rifle in October 2012.
The Thursday night meals — free to anyone who shows up — were added to the schedule this October, said LIFT-UP Executive Director Kim Loving at the Nov. 21 meal.
“We average about 15 meals a night,” she said. “But it varies from anywhere between three to around 20. We get more toward the end of the month.”
Loving said the Extended Table meals are promoted through newspaper advertising and calendar listings, word of mouth and flyers, along with cooperative groups like Reach Out Colorado’s Totes for Hope program.
“The need is definitely out there,” she added.
Meal menus, with all food prepared by volunteers from dozens of area churches, vary widely, Loving said, and may include ham and bean soup, burritos, turkey, tacos and lasagna. On this night’s menu was pizza casserole, coleslaw, garden salad, rolls and brownies, prepared and served by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Rifle. Beverages are provided by LIFT-UP.
Fred Williams of Rifle is a LIFT-UP volunteer and enjoys Extended Table meals each week.
“I’m single and it’s easy for me to just stop in,” he said during his meal. “If there’s more than one or two people here, there’s always good camaraderie. I think it’s a great thing for the community.”
Clyde Weaver of Rifle was another Extended Table diner who appreciated the meal.
“I just started coming,” he said. “I’m not starving or anything, but at the end of the month, I’m down to rice with nothing else. So I don’t always have meals like this. And as groceries get more expensive, every little bit of food helps.”
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Officer Haley Walker sat beside her stepmother in a windowless interrogation room just before starting the overnight shift on Thursday evening.