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Emergency Food Assistance Progam Triples number of families and people served since March of 2020

The Salida Community Center provides food for members of Chaffee County (and beyond) through multiple food programs. They first started with The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) which provides food to low-income seniors on a monthly basis.

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact the community, Director of the Community Center, Elaine Allemang said that the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) effort has become more important than ever.

“There’s a lot of people here that aren’t seniors who need this food,” said Allemang, explaining why she took over TEFAP.

On the first Wednesday of every month, those who qualify can pick up food at the Community Center through the TEFAP and CSFP. The Center also delivers food across the county. TEFAP began running a month after the CSFP and helped around 150 people. The next emergency food assistance distribution will be Wed., April 7.

The center also distributes food through the School Pantry Distribution program which works in partnership with KHEN community radio to distribute food to students. All of these programs have seen an increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food waiting to be distributed inside the Salida Community Center. Photo by Brooke Gilmore.

“We have more programs now than we’ve ever had,” said Allemang.

Monthly food distribution for this program has grown substantially from last year to this year; more than tripling in just 12 months.

In March of 2020, the Community Center served 136 households, 241 people, and 44 children through their food programs. A year later in March of 2021, the center served 429 households, 811 people, and 137 students through their programs.

“The way Salida is located, so many people from Saguache, Villa Grove, they all come here to buy groceries and to get food, so I’ve got permission from the organization that I get food from to service whoever I want. So, we do Cotopaxi and Coaldale. We do several counties around here. We have between 15 to 20 delivery drivers that deliver food.”

In March of 2021 the Center delivered to 152 seniors, 322 TEFAP food recipients, 429 households, 677 adults and 137 children for a grand total of 811 distributions.

Since the Center offers a wide array of programs, those in need of food are encouraged to visit their website to find a program that can support their needs.

Those interested in volunteering for the food distribution process can email Allemang at salidacommunitycenter@yahoo.com