Mancos FoodShare was pronounced 2020 Project of the Year by Mancos Valley Resources this month.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the organization managed to serve food to 5,486 individuals through its commodities food boxes and weekly food pantry.
Mancos Valley Resources is the leading fiscal sponsor for 15 charitable projects in the Mancos Valley.
Started in 2013 by community members to distribute Department of Agriculture commodities, the organization has gradually expanded. According to a news release, Mancos FoodShare now has three part-time co-directors responsible for the weekly food pantry, a Bulk Buying Club, cooking and gardening classes and a monthly pet food bank.
SeedShare, led by co-director Stephanie Marquez, encourages locals to grow their own food with seeds donated by local farmers.
More than 6,500 pounds of local produce and 1,000 pounds of local meat was received and distributed in 2020.
The pantry provides free staples every Monday. These include items like green vegetables, fruit, cereal, beans, meats and school snacks.
“During the summer we do produce bags from all the produce we order,” said co-director Nicole Halladay. “We try to give all healthy food, no sugar and we stick with local farmers.”
Mancos FoodShare, located at Mount Lookout Grange, is funded through grants and individual donations from the community.
“Donations have been huge this year,” said co-director Gretchen Groenke. “It saves us a lot of time and work when we don’t have to write grants, and grants are very specifically budgeted out. With donations, we can do what we have to do and it’s been very helpful this year especially because we’ve been able to be very flexible.”
Groenke told The Journal that FoodShare saw some people pick up food over the past year that they had not seen in the past. One of the group’s goals is to provide a space free from stigma about needing support.
“A lot of people are doing everything they can,” Groenke said. “It’s not an individual fault. It’s a systemic fault when people are unable to meet their basic needs.”
Donations to FoodShare can be made through www.mancosvalleyresources.com or mailed to P.O. Box 204, Mancos, CO 81328.