Volume No. 17 Issue No. 5 May 2020  

  Food pantry needs help

     The High Plains Helping hands traditionally serves around 650 families. Since the start of Coronavirus, they have seen a 12 percent monthly increase with a 30 percent increased need in the communities. With the onset of the Coronavirus, they need help.
   HPHH is part of the Fresh Start Center and is open to the public; they provide families in need with food by collecting donations from the community. They also have sponsors, but with a growing need, there is an equally growing need for donations.
   Grant Winger, executive director of Fresh Start Center, said the pantry has switched to a call-ahead curbside service. The staff loads carts and brings them to the cars. All volunteer staff are wearing masks, and sanitation has been a major priority. Food donations are even being “quarantined” and then sanitized to prevent any possible spread of contamination.
   The pantry has 1.5 acres of raised garden beds, where they teach sustainable home gardening. Winger said, although they receive donations from big-box stores such as Sprouts and Little Caesars, there is still a need for additional nonperishable or unopened/sealed items: canned foods, peanut butter, dairy, meats and pasta. He said some “expired” goods can still be used. Foods that might be discarded because they have expired can still be used because the health department’s shelf life is extended beyond expiration dates.  
   The HPHH traditionally serves about 650 families. Since the start of the coronavirus, the pantry has seen a 12 percent monthly increase, and the communities have seen a 30 percent increase in need. With the increase, there has also been a decrease in donations. Annual drives that the pantry depends on for major donations have been cancelled. Winger said one specific drive a local Boy Scout troop sponsors is also canceled. The troop went door to door to collect canned goods and contributions.
   At the same time, Winger said people in need should come to the pantry because there is still plenty of food available.
   Anyone can donate, even small donations make a difference. The address of the pickup and drop-off location is 7375 Adventure Way, Colorado Springs, and the phone number is 719-495-3123
   May hours for the pantry:
   Tuesdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
   Wednesdays: 5 to 8 p.m.
   Thursdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
   Saturday, May 16: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
   Visit https://freshstartcenter.com/donations to make a monetary donation. Since High Plains Helping Hands also provides health and other services, they need nurse volunteers, drivers to collect donations from stores and volunteers to help at the pantry and keep up with the garden.
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