Food pantries across Jefferson County are seeing families who never relied on food assistance before the pandemic now comprising 30-40% of their customers, the county reported.
The Integrated Food Task Force began as government facilities and private businesses began to close at the start of the COVID-19 spread. Food distribution sites serving double or triple the typical population needed to recruit new volunteers, as helpers traditionally were older adults at higher risk of infection.
“#Jeffco food banks are here to support neighbors in need. It's OK to ask for help,” wrote Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper on Twitter. She, along with Commissioner Casey Tighe, are members of the task force.
The board of county commissioners also appropriated money to open 11 grab-and-go summer meals sites for children 18 years and younger. The middle and high school facilities will be open midday on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from May 27-Aug. 14. Children will receive two breakfasts and two lunches each for free.
“I am often wondering what I am going to make my family for dinner, and if you feel the same way, please stop by any of our food banks for some groceries to help put that next meal together,” said Mary Berg, the executive director of Jefferson County Human Services “We will have something available for you today, tomorrow and in the future.”