COVID-19 presented a complex crisis of new need, increased volunteer challenges and disruptions to our food supply and distribution models. We have the potential to emerge from this pandemic stronger and even better positioned to meet the evolving needs of our community. We are beginning to shift our conversations and operations to look ahead and are in the process of updating our strategic plan to further address systemic issues. With that, we have been discussing how we can continue to carry out our mission with innovative approaches to meet those in need of food. We would like to share with you an idea that we are considering. Please note that none of this has been finalized or included in our pending budget process, nor are they public-ready plans.
Mobile Pantry Partnership with Poudre High School:
In March 2020, we made immediate shifts in how we were distributing food, particularly through our Food Share pantries that were altered to be socially distanced and safe drive-through models. Shortly after this change, we recognized that there was additional need so we created pop up pantries (PUPs) to target underserved areas of the community.
The impact of these pantries is that the Food Bank for Larimer County is increasing access for many community members to receive free nutritious food which in turn saves them money for other basic needs. Families received milk, dry goods, produce, frozen items and more and were incredibly thankful for all that was provided!
For the past several months, we have had twice-monthly pantry services at Poudre High School and they have been incredibly well received by our clients. There are several reasons we chose this particular location. We knew it was important to the school community and we also know that PHS is centered in one the most racially disparate census tracts in Larimer County with 49% of Latin X individuals living below the poverty line as opposed to 16% of white residents.
Since its inception this location has served a different population than our other locations. Since COVID started 22% of households that use our Food Share pantries (brick and mortar locations in FC and Loveland) are new, but a staggering 93% of households visiting this location have been new. In addition, 42% of the families visiting this location have asked to remain anonymous which is a significantly higher percentage than our other locations. Each month, we serve on average approximately 800 individuals through our PHS pantry.
Given the success of this location, and the partnerships we have formed with PHS, we are moving away from considering this as a temporary location (a PUP), and more in-line with our other mobile partnerships. The term "PUP" has been used by our organization since the inception of these pantries in
spring of 2020 as it was truly that...a quickly adapted model that allowed us to vet different locations
and see what worked.
Our PHS Mobile Pantry is providing valuable insight into those at-risk of hunger, especially in our
vulnerable populations. We have the funds to pay for this pantry through the remainder of our fiscal
year (ending on June, 30th) but would need additional funds to continue this pantry beyond that time.
We are working on the creation of an MOU with PHS and PSD to in the hopes of continuing this pantry for another year until June, 2022. We may continue beyond that point but at this point we are unable to make that determination as there are too many variables that would need to be considered. The primary expense would be hiring a full-time Mobile Pantry Coordinator to operate not only this site but serve as a staff representative for our other mobile pantries. When Covid-19 hit, we were able to secure some temporary staff to help ease the workload among our operations staff which allowed them to rotate shifts at each site. However, the temporary staff are only contracted through June and we will not be able to sustain the additional labor these pantries require from our current staff. We anticipate that the cost to maintain this location through June 2022 would be roughly $65,000. This includes the above mentioned staff person as well as all related program expenses such as food procurement and purchase, packaging fees, and transportation. Please note, that all expenses listed here (with the exception of the staff person) are for our PHS pantry ONLY.
Rotarians would be involved by attending the Pop-Up Pantry bi-monthly to disburse food to the clients in-need.