Lend a Helping Hand

Volunteers are welcome at the Gunnison Food Pantry.

Stephanie Colton / Staff Writer

With the help of local volunteers, the Gunnison Food Pantry feeds hundreds of people across the Gunnison Valley each year. To prove that any person who needs assistance can find it, the Food Pantry recently gave 101 Thanksgiving dinners to families in need. Approximately 10,000 pounds of food per month are distributed to 250 households on average. This amounts to around 560 people in Gunnison area. It is all made possible by the members of the Food Pantry, the volunteers, and the local donors.

Katie Dix, president of the Board of Directors, moved to Gunnison five years ago and wanted to connect with like-minded people. Through volunteering, she found that she enjoyed surrounding herself with people that wanted to take action and help others. As her last time in a managerial position, Dix wants to promote the Food Pantry and make it known to everyone that they can always be helped when they need it.

The Food Pantry distributes food from their lobby to anyone who sets foot in the door. Dix states that the hardest step in the process for most people is walking through the door for the first time, as they feel discouraged seeking help. The main goal of the Food Pantry is to assist anyone, and there is no shame in asking for help. They also distribute monthly government supplied packages to lower income families that qualify for assistance.

A large portion of the Pantry’s supply is generated from local food drives. Volunteer groups or teams promote the Food Pantry at businesses and organizations in the area and collect donations from generous locals. Volunteers supply shoppers with a suggested shopping list to help fulfill the needs of the Food Pantry. However, there are plenty more ways for community members to assist the Food Pantry. Western student Hannah Twiddy designed the poster outside Gunnison Savings & Loan to promote the annual fund drive. Twiddy has been a long-time donor to organizations such as the food pantry and wanted to use her creative graphic design skills to step up her involvement in the community.

Western students, along with Gunnison community members, are encouraged to take initiative and volunteer at the Food Pantry with a club or group of friends. On the first Wednesday of every month, the Food Pantry receives a shipment from the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado. Volunteers are welcome to help move the food into the Pantry at 10:30AM. Anyone seeking volunteer hours may work a few hours a week organizing the food inside the building. Any students or community members looking to apply their personal skills to help the Pantry are highly encouraged to share their ideas.There is always work to be done.

The Gunnison Food Pantry is located on 321-C N Main Street, located on the southwest corner of Main and Ohio. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Pantry, feel free to email Katie Dix or other members at gunnisoncountryfoodpantry@gmail.com.