There are countless reasons why people choose to live in the mountains: the abundance of nature, solitude, and recreation are a few that may come to mind. But talk to the folks at the Nederland Food Pantry and you’ll learn that the heart of Boulder County’s mountain community isn’t its geography, but instead, its people.
“In general, we all look out for each other,” shared Nicole Cavalino, Executive Director at Nederland Food Pantry. “The isolation that comes from living in the mountains poses challenges,” she explained. “We have people who don’t have Wi-Fi, access to transportation, or other things people may take for granted. It’s a different community altogether, which is beautiful, but it has gaps.”
Last year, Community Food Share started to explore how to reach mountain residents who were struggling to meet their food needs. Working with Tim Dillon, board member and community liaison for Nederland Food Pantry, we began cohosting pop-up food pantries at the WonderVu Café. “That’s where the locals go,” Tim explained. The Mexican café is more than a place to get a good meal or drink: it’s a community hub that, thanks to its central location, is accessible to residents who lack transportation.
Seeing the need, Community Food Share started providing food boxes to the WonderVu Café and The Last Stand, another mountain community restaurant, on a regular basis. The food is available to anyone who may struggle to pay for groceries, whether they are customers, employees, or first-time visitors.
These new partnerships are meant to eliminate common barriers to accessing food — such as location, awareness, and shame — to help more people get the resources they need. Nicole and Tim explained that in their community, many of their neighbors who help out at the Nederland Food Pantry have also used its services. Because employees and volunteers understand what those visiting the pantry are going through, they can create a safe and welcoming environment for pantry visitors. “When you’re somebody in this community who has had to ask for food resources, you know the sensitivity behind it,” Nicole shared.
To learn more about Community Food Share’s partners, visit www.communityfoodshare.org/partners.