Hunger, the refrigerator, has been placed on the Lions Pond in Fraser next to Safeway and tickets are now available to make your guess as to when it will fall through the ice.
The Fridge Drop is a fundraiser that was originally started by Deb Ruttenberg and the non-profit, Grand Futures, over a decade ago. It had been several years since the fridge was placed on the icy pond and, in 2018, Mountain Family Center (MFC) started thinking about resurrecting it for their organization. Helen Sedlar, Executive Director for Mountain Family Center, said, “We thought the refrigerator theme tied in nicely with our food pantries and hunger relief.” Sedlar spoke with Ruttenberg and Deb thought it was a great idea, “She graciously helped point us in the right direction,” said Sedlar.
In 2019, a team from Mountain Family Center reached out to the Fraser River Valley Lions Club to see if they would partner on the project. “They were happy to jump on board, and with the assistance of the East Grand Fire Department, helped place the refrigerator on the ice a couple of weeks ago.”
Nobody going to bed hungry
MFC operates three food pantries in Grand County, plus a “good neighbor” pantry in Jackson County (Walden). If you need food, simply walk in, complete an intake form, and they will give you a box. There are no income checks or other qualifications required. “We provide food to all who need it,” said Sedlar.
MFC moved from Hot Sulphur to their current location on E. Agate Avenue in Granby in 2013. Sedlar explained, “Our food pantry numbers have doubled since then. We attribute this growth to several different factors including population growth (about 8% since 2013), rising cost of living (especially housing) and increased awareness of our programs and services.”
According to the latest stats by Feeding America, the Food Insecurity rate in Grand County is 11.5%. This has actually decreased over the last few years and Sedlar attributes some of this reduction to the increased use of available local food resources such as the food pantries.
Students in Grand County go to school Monday-Thursday, and while the three-day weekend offers many benefits to families, it can also be difficult for those children facing food insecurity at home, who may not have much to eat between one school meal and the next. Thus, the School Totes program was born.
Every Thursday, over 525 grocery bags (“totes”) packed with nutritious snacks are delivered to schools throughout Grand County. Students sign up as needed, and can take home a snack tote every weekend, as well as at the local libraries during the summer. According to Sedlar, TOTES numbers have stayed pretty steady over the past few years at around 550. “This past year, we gathered total student enrollment numbers from the schools we serve and figured out that approximately 1 in 4 students participate in TOTES.”
About 80% of MFC’s food is ordered/purchased through Food Bank of the Rockies, and paid for with funds from grants and individual donors. Sedlar clarified the numbers, “We spend around $70,000-$75,000 per year on groceries. The other 20% of our food comes from local food drives and individual donations, as well as surplus food from the local grocery stores. Each week we have volunteers pick up meat, dairy, produce, bakery items and other donations from Fireside Market, Safeway, City Market, the Kremmling Mercantile and Kum and Go. This is part of the Food Rescue program, overseen by the Food Bank of the Rockies. We distribute close to 300,000 pounds of food per year in Grand County.”
Through food pantries, Kids Totes, nutrition and cooking classes, Thanksgiving Baskets and more, MFC is working to alleviate local hunger. Become a volunteer, make a donation or make a guess when the refrigerator will fall through the ice and help support this invaluable local resource.
The Fridge Drop is just another way to help stop hunger in our community. Keep your eyes on the prize as the Fridge sinks lower in the ice this spring. The closest guess, to the minute, wins half of ticket sales. Mountain Family Center receives the other half, so it’s a win-win!
Fridge Drop tickets are available at Mountain Family Center, their thrift store, Main Street Thrift, or at Grand Foundation in Fraser. Additionally, there will be some pop-up sales at local grocery stores over the next few weeks as well. You can also buy tickets online at mountainfamilycenter.org.
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