PUEBLO — There is an important food resource coming to the food desert on Pueblo's east side. "So people in need, if they can’t afford their groceries, or they can't afford enough groceries, can come and get the food they need to supplement what they already have," said Care and Share, CEO, Lynne Telford. Care and Share food bank is expanding its mission with a permanent food pantry scheduled to open in the area later this year.
"What's going to be nice is there's going to be that fresh produce,” said east Pueblo Resident, Tom Carrigan. He has been active in the community looking for food resource solutions since the Safeway store in area closed several years back.
The store closing turned this part of Pueblo into what is dubbed a food desert. The term refers to an area where people have to travel more than a mile and half from their home to a grocery store. “Right now, you’re looking at about four-and-a-half to five miles closest to an actual grocery store,” said Carrigan. There are many living in east pueblo who do not have vehicles.
Care and Share currently operates as a food supplier to more than 260 programs in Southern Colorado helping people who deal with food insecurity. Mobile food giveaways a couple times month on Pueblo’s east side, motivated the decision to open a bricks and mortar food resource location that will be called Sunny Side Market. "It is the first one in what we hope will be a pantry network," said Telford. Care and Share managers used data and mapping in their decision. It shows a lot of convenience stores, but no near-by grocery stores or food pantries in this region of Pueblo.
The final paperwork is happening on a location. When complete the site will be announced. The plan is to open the pantry at least three days a week.