In need of enough elbow room at The ROC Center of Rifle
Citizen Telegram Editor
Dave Bottroff wasn’t sure the nonprofit referral agency he heads up that helps provide nutritious food to needy school children would survive its first year.
The ROC Center in Rifle has, and now needs more room to meet increasing demands.
Reach-Out Colorado’s mission is to serve as a community outreach resource and referral center, connecting those in need with appropriate services. The center opened in May 2012 with rented offices in the Midland Building in downtown Rifle.
Bottroff, the center’s executive director, said volunteers helped prepare 250 “Totes of Hope” for children in the three Rifle elementary schools each week last school year. Nutritious food from the Food Bank of the Rockies was packed in plastic bags and distributed to students each Thursday, so they had some healthy food during the three-day weekends caused by the four-day school week in Garfield School District Re-2.
Bottroff said Totes of Hope is not meant to provide full meals to each child, but augment their diet at home. Eligible children qualify for the federal free and reduced cost lunch program, he added.
“This year, they want us to include [Rifle Middle School], so we’re gearing up for 350 Totes of Hope a week,” Bottroff said.
The space needed to pack that many bags each week will likely overwhelm The ROC Center’s current donated space, a basement room in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 0086 Village Drive.
“We have as many as 20 volunteers, sometimes only a few, on Tuesday nights,” Bottroff said. “When we have all the food off the pallets in there, there’s hardly any room.”
So Bottroff and the center’s board hopes someone who owns a vacant building with at least 1,000 square feet — “hopefully on the ground floor or even down two or three stairs instead of the 14 stairs we climb now” — will either donate the space or agree to a low rent.
Food Bank of the Rockies in Grand Junction brings a pallet of boxed and canned food each week, so the only cost for The ROC Center is materials, labor and transportation to the schools, Bottroff said.
Rifle Truck and Trailer takes the food from the fairgrounds, where it’s dropped off, to the church at no cost, he added.
A work crew of inmates from the Rifle Correctional Center unpacks the food from the pallet and into the room at the church, Bottroff said.
There could be an economic incentive for an interested building owner.
“If there is someone who might want to help, they might get a tax break,” Bottroff said.
The center might be able to afford to pay utilities, he noted.
“It does have to have heat so the cans don’t freeze in the winter,” he said.
The center is also in charge of the annual holiday Angel Tree program that provides hundreds of donated gifts to needy children, he added. Last holiday season, 160 gifts were wrapped and given to kids.
Bottroff said he hoped to find a suitable site by Sept. 1, with the first Totes of Hope this school year scheduled for the second or third Tuesday in September. Interested building owners can contact Bottroff at 309-0384, or go to the ROC Center’s website, reach-out-colorado.org.
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