Activities Report from The Sharehouse – March through July
When COVID-19 hit the Four Corners in mid-March, all normal activities at The Sharehouse came to a screeching halt. From March 14 through July, we became a food bank for numerous food assistance and food relief efforts in the Four Corners region.
This work brought forward dozens of groups and individuals in our region who are collaborating to build solidarity around food justice. The high level of commitment is deeply rooted in the belief that without equity there is no justice, and that the balance of power must shift from a consolidated corporate system to a system that works for everyone. This shift is spurred by COVID-19 emergency response which highlights inequities in food production, distribution, and access, and fuels the urgency for solutions.
Below is a chronology of the major events at The Sharehouse since COVID-19 hit the Four Corners. Within each piece there were, and continue to be, countless community members without whose generosity this work wouldn’t be possible.
A small group of food assistance folks and concerned community members convened at The Sharehouse when shelter-in-place orders began. The concern was that life was just about to get a lot harder for many people who already suffer from food insecurity. From this meeting, it was agreed that:
- The Sharehouse would act as base of operations for food purchasing, storage, and distribution, and would seek donations and grants to support food purchases;
- Four Corners Mutual Aid Network would be formed to connect individual community members who have resources with people who need food, supplies, and financial assistance;
- The Good Samaritan and The Sharehouse would accept donations for COVID-19 relief work on behalf of several food assistance groups.
March 14-June 1
Fundraising and food distribution was happening at a fast and furious pace, continually responding to the needs of the community as COVID-19 impacted business and travel. The Sharehouse made weekly food purchases from wholesale distributors and local producers on behalf of food assistance groups and communities who lacked access and funds for bulk food purchases.
March 14-May 1
With the sudden increase in need for family food boxes, The Sharehouse supported the Good Samaritan Center food pantry, our next door neighbor, by providing food boxes for families on the days that the Good Samaritan was not open.
A giant semi truck from the Colorado Pet Pantry delivered 14 pallets of dog and cat food to the Sharehouse’s warehouse at Beech and North Streets, thanks to Kylie Caraher and For Pet’s Sake. The pet food was distributed to Towaoc, Mancos, Dolores, and to many individuals via For Pet’s Sake distributions. We received another shipment in June that was broadly distributed from Dove Creek to Ignacio. We anticipate another shipment in September.
March 27-July 17
The Sharehouse collaborated with the Montezuma County Senior Center to supplement weekly food boxes that were delivered by Meals on Wheels and MoCo Transportation for approximately 80 older adult households who were impacted by shelter-in-place restrictions. We made scratch-cooked meals, assembled produce bags, received baked goods from many community members, and purchased ready-to-eat meals from local restaurants, all of which was delivered every Friday for 14 weeks. We are very grateful to volunteers and AmeriCorps folks who made this program possible. We also thank the Good Samaritan and the NextFifty Initiative for funding this effort.
As the impact of the pandemic was felt across the Four Corners, a new group emerged to address inequities and geographic isolation related to food access and sovereignty. The Four Corners Food Coalition (FCFC) hosts weekly Zoom meetings to foster collaboration and empowerment among communities to build equity and increase healthy food access, shifting power within our food system. The Sharehouse is an FCFC partner and has shared funds for food purchasing, and provides a central location for food storage and distribution. FCFC now hosts Zoom meetings every other week, and anyone is welcome to participate. firstname.lastname@example.org
Target Rental reached out to The Sharehouse, offering to conduct a food and funds drive for COVID-19 food relief efforts. Target Rental raised and donated $5,800 and over 300 pounds of canned goods!
The Sharehouse received 5,500 pounds of frozen ground turkey, donated by Pete Sands of Aneth, Utah. Thanks to social media, we were able to distribute all of the meat in one afternoon to food assistance groups from Pagosa Springs, Bayfield, Ignacio, Towaoc, Mancos, Dolores, Dove Creek, and Cortez. With just two day’s notice, these folks descended upon the Sharehouse and loaded up cars and trucks, providing much needed meat for groups working to feed their communities under very difficult circumstances.
June 11 (thru October)
Started weekly produce box deliveries to 21 older adult households via a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, funded by Live Well Colorado. The Sharehouse partnered with the Southwest Farm Fresh cooperative to provide fresh and nutritious locally grown food every Thursday throughout the growing season, delivered by a crew of awesome volunteers.
The Food Farm Win Win campaign raised funds for Montezuma and Dolores county food pantries to be able to purchase food from local farms and ranches. Campaign partners included Montezuma County WIC, Dolores Family Project, the Good Food Collective, Team Up, Ute Mountain Ute WIC, Four Corners Mutual Aid, and The Sharehouse. A total of $13,288 was equally divided among Good Samaritan, Dolores Family Project, Mancos FoodShare, Hope’s Kitchen, Grace’s Kitchen, and Reaching Out to Community and Kids.
The Southwestern Colorado Research Center donated 550 pounds of whole wheat flour to The Sharehouse. The grain was grown at their farm in Yellow Jacket, and was milled at the community mill in Norwood, Colorado. The flour was donated to food pantries in Ignacio, Mancos, and Dove Creek, and a few bags were given to local bakers – including the new Three Chicks Bakery in Dolores – to get professional opinions about the workability of the flour. Thank you Emily Lockard at the Yellow Jacket Experiment station for your dedicated effort to make this happen!!
|It takes a community!|
COVID-19 Food Assistance Work in the Four Corners
The Sharehouse is honored partner with the COVID-19 emergency response efforts of many regional food assistance entities. Below is a list of these organizations that have been instrumental in getting food and supplies to their communities:
Colorado Pet Pantry and Kylie Caraher
Dolores Family Project
Dove Creek Care and Share
For Pet’s Sake
Four Corners Food Coalition
Four Corners Mutual Aid Network
Good Food Collective
Good Samaritan Center
Grace’s Kitchen at St. Barnabus Church
Ignacio Mutual Aid
Montezuma County Health Department
Montezuma County Senior Services
Montezuma County WIC
Northern and Eastern Navajo Nation COVID Relief
Pine River Shares
Reaching Out to Communities and Kids
San Juan Collaborative for Health Equity
Southern Ute Tribe
Southwest Center for Independent Living
Southwest Open School
Southwest Rainbow Youth
Team Up/United Way
Ute Mountain Ute Food Distribution
Ute Mountain Ute Recreation
Ute Mountain Ute WIC
The Sharehouse appreciates the contributions of volunteers who ventured out during shelter-in-place and safer-at-home restrictions to serve the most vulnerable members of our community. Here’s a list of the folks who directly assisted The Sharehouse in making meals and packing, sorting, and delivering food – THANK YOU!
The Wolf Family
An amazing outpouring of homegrown generosity supported COVID-19 emergency relief work. From mid-March through July the Sharehouse received over $16,000 in contributions from the following community members:
William and Marilyn Justice
Brenda Van Keuren
Chris and Jodi Foran
Linda Drobinski Baker
Joe and Susan Keck
Lanette Candelaria Mitchell
Lana T. Chaddic
Troy and Lori Mott
George Cheny and Sally Planalp
Phyllis and Dion Hollenbeck
Connie and Steven Coy
M. K. Zion
Mary and David Wilson
Susan and Scott Wortman
Kenneth and Joyce Stevenson
First Baptist Church
Sally Jo Leitner
Work of this magnitude requires grant support. Thankfully, many grant-making organizations understood the urgency of the situation and made funds available quickly and with minimal paperwork. Here’s a list of the grant support received by The Sharehouse for COVID-19 relief efforts:
Colorado Health Foundation, $5,864
Rocky Mountain Health Foundation, $1,300
Onward/Community Emergency Fund of SW CO, $2,000
Mile High United Way/CO State, $25,000
CO Blueprint to End Hunger/Trailhead Institute, $2,500
CO Housing Finance Authority, $8,000
Good Samaritan, $500
Next 50 Initiative, $6,000
Live Well Colorado, $8,000
US Government PPP, $4,000
Celebrating Healthy Communities, $1,000
Thank you for reading our COVID-19 Emergency Response Report. Stay safe and healthy, and remember to buy local!
Director, The Sharehouse
A project of the Montezuma Food Coalition
30-D North Beech Street
Cortez, CO 81321Donations are gratefully accepted at http://bit.ly/onwardfoundation or by mail at the above address. Thank you!