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“We knew the so-called hunger cliff was coming”, says Liam McClure, Client Programs Manager at Harvest of Hope Pantry. “Sure enough, since the start of 2023, we’ve welcomed 246 new clients”, McClure says.
Hope Pantry is a Boulder, Colorado non-profit organization providing free food. Clients can browse the pantry for their desired items, in a grocery store style market. There are canned non-perishables, dairy cases, bakery items, frozen foods, and fresh produce. Everything is available at no cost. “The focus is on reducing stigma around food insecurity. We let people choose what they want based on their needs. Some unhoused people may need food daily. Other folks who have kitchens can shop weekly. We treat everyone with dignity and respect, no matter their circumstances”, says McClure.
With the reduction in SNAP benefits (government supplemental food assistance) and continued inflation, Hope Pantry anticipated an increase in need in the Boulder community. In addition to hundreds of new clients, the Pantry has distributed over 15,000 lbs more food than the same time last year.
In response to the increased need in the community, Hope Pantry is providing more opportunities to access free food. Beginning Monday, June 5, 2023, Pantry will be open to all shoppers, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday with additional evening shopping times Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“We had two shopping times a day and closed for a midday break. Now we are welcoming folks with and without kitchens to visit us during any open Pantry hours”, says McClure.
Hope Pantry has also extended food access with a “mobile pantry” in two Boulder housing communities. High Mar is home to many lower income older adults and Lee Hill supports those experiencing chronic homelessness. At both locations, the Pantry provides canned goods, fresh produce, dairy and meat, to residents in need of additional food. “We are providing some much-needed supplemental food to some of Boulder’s most vulnerable people. Many of these individuals have mobility challenges. We bring the food to them.” says Chad Molter, Operations Manager.
About half of the food the Pantry provides is donated. “We are always community focused. Our organization is successful thanks to our volunteers, donated food, and monetary donations. That’s what it takes to step up to the challenge of feeding those in need”, says Molter.
Harvest of Hope Pantry is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides food assistance to anyone in need. The Pantry is located at 4830 Pearl St. in Boulder and is open Monday through Friday. They welcome volunteers, donations and donated food (with some guidelines). www.hopepantry.org