AURORA, Colorado – The Village Exchange Center helps the Aurora community by providing food and dignity to its customers. Each week, volunteers buy culturally appropriate food for thousands of people who rely on the organization to feed themselves and do community work.
“We allow them to choose the actual food that they will eat because it recognizes who they are and what they really want as an individual,” said Amanda Blaurock, executive director of the Village Exchange Center. “Part of our mission is to celebrate religious and cultural diversity. And that means for us that we actually meet people where they are and we see what they are.”
The organization provides more than just food for the nearly 1,200 families who visit the building. Many are first generation immigrant families from one of the 26 countries represented. Many cultural, nutritional, informative, and even legal services are available to them.
In February, the Village Exchange Center will add an extensive utility program. A community funding program using Adams County money will help Aurora hour workers take time to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19. Applicants can get up to $ 1,500 to safely take time off. The program is currently funded for $ 250,000. Blaurock hopes to expand it further.
“That way, in this pilot program, we can test how best to do this in the right way and see how quickly we can get the real funds for our community and make them the right choices for quarantine,” she said . “What we learned last year is that there was a huge population that lost their jobs during the COVID and were unable to get unemployment insurance.”
Applicants can find out more on the Village Exchange Center website.