PUEBLO – Hunger relief is going virtual in Pueblo.
Community pantries have long been a staple in the fight against hunger but this year, because of the pandemic, they are being forced to be creative to service their communities. Enter The Pueblo Food Project, who are finding new ways to support hunger relief organizations in Pueblo with an online pantry featuring local food.
The Pueblo Food Project has launched an innovative online community pantry utilizing the Supporting Pueblo website to connect hunger relief organizations with food purchased with CARES Act dollars managed by the City.
Monique Marez, coordinator of the Pueblo Food Project, said the goal is to provide organizations that fight hunger with local products in a safe way during COVID-19.
“Our hunger relief organizations and our local food businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. By purchasing locally, and sharing those products with community members in need, we achieve a win for everyone in the face of the pandemic,” said Marez
In 2020 alone, the Pueblo Food Project has distributed 1400 meal kits to Pueblo City School students and the Boys and Girls Club. They have given 350 COVID-19 safety kits to homeless organizations. And the group provided heat lamps to hunger relief groups to keep volunteers warm.
In addition, the Pueblo Food Project plans to provide several thousand meal kits for holiday relief and homebound individuals.
“The Pueblo Food Project is a tremendous bright spot for the city during the pandemic,” said Mayor Nick Gradisar. “Through this homegrown effort we are proving you can fight hunger through partnering and helping local suppliers.”
The online community pantry will one of the biggest efforts to use locally supplied products for the city.
“This is the largest local procurement effort that has ever taken place in Pueblo. Folks get to eat food made here, and our economy benefits too. I think it’s just incredible we are able to do this,” said Marez
The program has partnered with eight local suppliers providing a wide range of products from meat, beans, preserves, and roasted green chile.
Hunger relief organizations can place an order online at the Supporting Pueblo Website and Pueblo Food Project will help fulfil the order. The pantry will remain open until all items are gone.
Participating in the online community pantry are Bay's Meat Market, Gagliano's Sausage Company, Jojo's Sriracha, Mauro's Farm and Bakery, Martino Cattle Company, Milberger Farms, Par's Natural Foods, and Prairie Hen Preserves The online community pantry invested around $55,000 into the local food economy.
Marez said the community pantry has already seen orders from many organizations such as POSADA, East Side Action Support Team, and the Pueblo Rescue Mission.
For more information contact the Pueblo Food Project at firstname.lastname@example.org