URGED hears Care and Share Food Bank presentation

Photo by Lyndsie Ferrell Sarah Stoeber, San Luis Valley Development Director for Care and Share gave a presentation on the food bank organization and the part they play in the food system in the San Luis Valley and Southern Colorado at the Feb. 8 Upper Rio Grande Economic Development meeting. Care and Share has been working behind the scenes in the Valley for over 40 years, bringing food to people in need.

DEL NORTE — Upper Rio Grande Economic Development (URGED) members met for their first meeting of 2022 in Del Norte on Feb. 8 and welcomed keynote speaker Sarah Stoeber, San Luis Valley Development Director for Care and Share Food Bank.

Stoeber gave a brief presentation on the food bank program and what is in store for the Southern region in Colorado. 

Stoeber was recently accepted as a member of URGED and thanked everyone for the chance to be a part of the group.

“I am excited to be a part of this group and I appreciate everything that this group is trying to do for the region, specifically for Rio Grande County and I acknowledge the hard work Director Tom Monaco is putting in to bring the programs and resources into help the region grow,” she said.

Stoeber said that the Share and Care Food Bank program has served the San Luis Valley for more than 40 years and has brought food to people in need in Southern Colorado since its inception.

“A lot of people get confused about what Care and Share’s role is in the food systems. We have been working here in the Valley behind the scenes for over 40 years delivering food to area food pantries. We work with several partners here in the Valley to bring food to those in need,” said Stoeber.

Stoeber explained that a good portion of the people who benefit from their program with Care and Share are families that have working parents who have reached a difficult moment in their lives and need support.

“We help fill the gap between whether or not to pay the electric bill or feed your children for working families as well as those who are in worse situations. We help those that are in difficult situations and just need a little help over that bump in the road," Stoeber said.

A majority of the demographic that is served through Care and Share are single moms or single parents who are working but have fallen into hard times that were exacerbated by the COVID pandemic.

“Our job is to work with local partner agencies, provide the food they need to serve those folks, and make sure it is distributed to the appropriate places,” she said.

Care and Share serve 31 counties throughout the southern part of Colorado while Food Bank of the Rockies serves the northern half. The two entities have an MOU in place that opens clean lines of communication so that the resources offered by the two groups can be available to more people throughout the state of Colorado.

A new food bank building is being finished in Alamosa and will house most of the food that is distributed to other regions within the 31 counties in Southern Colorado. Because of this new headquarters, Care and Share can reach areas like the Four Corners region that need more resources.

“We have 242 partner agencies, some of which are right here in Del Norte and throughout the San Luis Valley," Stoeber said.

There was a noticeable increase in services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the organization needs support through the workforce, volunteers, or monetary donations. The organization is hiring truck drivers to deliver food and will be looking for a new director and looking to fill other openings in the near future. 

Care and Share gather food through food drives and monetary fundraisers. Volunteers sort the food for proper storage before distributing it to the areas in need. The organization hopes to have the Alamosa building open and fully operational by this coming fall and is planning to have a grand-opening event.

For more information, visit www.careandshare.org.


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