Cellular pantry in Aurora feeding households throughout COVID-19

Organizations in Aurora have come together to create a mobile pantry that will serve approximately 500 local families each week.

AURORA, Colorado – The Aurora community saw a massive need for food as the COVID-19 pandemic increased.

The Aurora Mobile Food Pantry is a partnership between the city, Aurora Interfaith Community Services, and several other organizations.

The idea started with a question to the community from the city. You asked what is the greatest need?

“Basically, they said we need access to food,” said Claudine McDonald, community relations manager for the city of Aurora.

The program began on May 20 when 9,000 meals were served in about 30 minutes.

They ran out of food on a traffic line that stretched 25 blocks. Two weeks later, the team increased production and began serving approximately 30,000 meals a week.

“We got more food. We tried to find more scholarships and that’s what we ultimately achieved. We can support 500 families a week,” said McDonald.

Organizations and city officials now meet every Thursday to meet prevailing needs. To date, the mobile pantry has helped nearly 15,000,000 people with over 200,000 meals.

It is a need that McDonald sees and recognizes from personal experience.

“I can remember when my family needed food. I can remember when my family came to me to eat so it wasn’t too far from us, “she said.

The city cannot do this without the help of dozens of volunteers who attend each week. Adrian Garcia is one of the volunteers supporting the community.

“I’m in a position where I can help and I come from the school of thought where, if you have, you give,” said Garcia. “It’s unfortunate that people need this kind of support, but when the community comes together and sees a need, it’s amazing.”

Volunteers said they don’t do it for recognition, they do it because it’s the right thing to do.

“It’s that we not that me. There is a certain amount of self-gratification from helping and giving, but we still have a lot to do, ”said Garcia.

It is a humbling experience for those who give their time to meet the massive need.

“Me and my team come here at 3:30 in the morning to fix things and make sure we have the shows right,” said McDonald. I don’t open until 10am if you say something. “

Baby food, library books, water and pet food are also part of this mobile pantry.

Organizers said they currently have enough money to keep the pantry running until August, but if they get more they will look into the need and could expand it.

Starting in August, food will be distributed on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. from downtown Aurora.

By the numbers:

  • Community members served: 14,800
  • Meals served: approximately 219,000
  • Total food: approx. 200,000
  • Pounds of pet food distributed: 16,500
  • Diapers and formula distributed: $ 15,000 worth
  • Water bottles distributed: 4,015
  • Library books distributed: 1,000
  • Volunteers: 384
  • Volunteer hours: 1,920

To learn more or to make a donation to support the Aurora Mobile Food Pantry, visit this link.

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