ROC center finds new space in Rifle
On Tuesday night a dozen volunteers were busy at work stuffing bags with an assortment of nonperishable foods.
It was a little bumpy, but the Rifle-based ROC (Reach-Out Colorado Inc.) center did not miss a beat.
The nonprofit, which primarily helps connect people in need of assistance with resources, moved from its old warehouse space and into a smaller but more centralized location in Rifle this past Sunday.
“It’s a real blessing — we’re very, very blessed,” said Dave Bottroff, Reach-Out Colorado executive director.
In addition to serving as a resource and referral center, the ROC also organizes the Totes of Hope program, which provides food to school children in Rifle who might not receive adequate nutrition on the weekends — a significant need an area where more than 50 percent of the students in each elementary school qualify for free or reduced lunches, according to the most recent statistics published by the Colorado Department of Education.
“It’s something we should be doing for our children, our community,” Kim Regan, a volunteer who spearheads the totes program, said while helping fill totes Tuesday. “And everybody [the volunteers] really seems to enjoy it.”
The ROC also organizes the Angel Tree program, which provides gifts to children during the holiday season.
Those two programs were based out of a warehouse space in south Rifle that was donated by a local business owner. The business recently relocated to Grand Junction, which forced the ROC to find a new space by the end of September.
Bottroff was in discussions with several property managers earlier this month, but was unsure how promising those conversations would be. However, the owner of Creekside Plaza, the property directly north of City Market off Railroad Avenue, agreed to let the ROC use some vacant space in the building, free of charge.
The agreement, which is on a month-to-month basis, also leaves the ROC off the hook for utilities, which is another blessing, Bottroff said.
The space is a little more than 300 square feet less than what Bottroff had been looking for, but he said the team of volunteers will make it work.
“It will be a little tight,” he said of when it comes time to start preparing the gifts for the Angel Tree program. “But we can make it work.”
The donated space came at a crucial time for the ROC. Three weeks ago it had just completed its first round of totes. With approximately 270 children requesting the totes — families must qualify for the assistance and make a formal request — it was one of the largest numbers starting off a school year in the program’s history.
Bottroff had canceled a food shipment for the following week, and volunteers used the remaining food from week one for the second week. After landing the new space and with the number of children at 300 for the third week, Bottroff made an emergency food run, and the volunteers showed up at the new location Tuesday to prepare the totes.
The number of children receiving totes will likely increase each week until the holidays. For some of those families, the food is sorely needed. For Missy Anderson and her daughter Annika, receiving the totes offered the exposure to the program that ultimately led them to volunteer for the first time Tuesday.
“God has been there for us, and we wanted to help the community,” Missy said.
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