COLORADO SPRINGS — The pandemic left many families wondering how they'll put food on the table, but a local organization stepped up to help those in need.
The Care and Share Food Bank in Colorado Springs has been fighting hunger in the community for about 40 years. Last year, they distributed nearly 25,000,000 lbs. of food across Southern Colorado.
Lynn Telford, the president and CEO of the organization says the need for food doubled last year, and when the pandemic hit, "we really had to up our game. This was a real challenge."
Within the past year, the organization began operating two mobile food markets. 1,000,000 lbs. of food have been distributed through the mobile food pantries from March to July 2020. The non-profit also opened two food pantries - one in Pueblo and one in Fountain.
The pandemic also disrupted the supply of food, but Telford says more people in the community donated to the organization. Typically, about 10,000 people donate every year, whereas last year, about 20,000 people donated.
"People see the need for food, they don't want their neighbors to go hungry," said Telford. "We all come together when the community needs us, and that's what we've done this time."
The non-profit partners with more than 280 agencies to distribute food to 31 counties across Southern Colorado. One of their partners is Crossfire Ministries in Colorado Springs, where Lynn Driscoll has been getting her food every week for the past decade.
"It's a big help to my husband and I. This places 80 percent of the food that I put on my table. It's given us a little freedom to put money toward other things," said Driscoll. "It gives you hope, and right now in the last year, I've needed some hope and faith. It's not just food. It's connection with people and knowing that you're not alone during the pandemic."
Care and Share also spent an additional $3 million purchasing food for the community last year. They hired about a dozen new employees to help with the growing need. They also helped process 820 SNAP applications.
Every year, the organizations holds their largest fund-raising event in March, called the Recipe for Hope Campaign.
Typically, the campaign is held at the Broadmoor, and they raise close to $500,000. However, with COVID-19 restrictions still in place, they're turning it into an online, virtual campaign. It will last through the end of March.
Several local organizations and corporations will match donations up to $125,000.
For more information about the campaign or Care and Share Food Bank, click here.