Granby nonprofit offers summer totes for local kids in need | SkyHiNews.com

Granby nonprofit offers summer totes for local kids in need

Families in Grand County facing food insecurity can receive supplemental food support from Granby based nonprofit Mountain Family Center through the organizations summer totes program.

The summer totes program is an extension of the weekly totes program Mountain Family Center administers during the school year throughout Grand County. Under that program students who seek assistance from Mountain Family Center receive weekly food donations every Thursday afternoon. The donations are meant to provide secure food sources over weekends, when children may not otherwise have stable meal offerings like they do while attending school.

Lydia Bloem, family development coordinator for Mountain Family Center, said the summer totes program has been in existence for roughly six summers and provides around 150 tote bags each week to local children. The summer program follows the same logic as the school year totes program. Schools provide students with access to breakfast and lunch each day but during summer months children from homes facing food insecurity may not have stable meals.

The summer totes program provides those children with ready access to food. Each tote provided by mountain family center includes several distinct items. Bloem said each tote includes one fruit or vegetable item. Because the totes must nonperishable the fruit or vegetable offerings in totes are not "fresh" and typically take the form of products such as dried fruits or vegetables or items such as applesauce.

Totes also typically include a protein item, such as beef jerky or peanut butter, along with snack items like granola bars and something that can serve as a primary source of calories for lunch or dinner such as boxes of macaroni and cheese. The totes provided by Mountain Family Center are made possible through the organizations weekly delivery of food supplies from Food Bank of the Rockies. Mountain Family Center also relies on a network of local volunteers who conduct food drives for the organization throughout the summer.

The totes are packed at Mountain Family Center's food bank locations and distributed to multiple locations across the county from Kremmling to Fraser. Along with the totes Mountain Family Center also provides fresh fruit for children at the Granby Library. The organization is in the midst of expanding fresh fruit offerings to include both the Kremmling and Fraser libraries as well.

The summer totes program is not means tested and any child who wants a tote can receive one at the various distribution locations throughout the county.

"All they have to do is show up and ask," Bloem said.

Bloem added that children could receive more than one tote.

"Say an older sibling went to get a tote but they have younger siblings in daycare," Bloem said. "They can take as many as needed."

The totes themselves are available at nine different Grand County locations including the two Mountain Family Center food banks in Granby and Kremmling as well as community libraries in Grand Lake, Granby, Kremmling, Fraser and Hot Sulphur Springs. Totes are also available at the Human Services Office and the Public Health Office in Hot Sulphur Springs.