NewsCovering Colorado


Charities team up as Penrose pantry seeks new home

Posted at 11:09 PM, Nov 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 01:12:16-05

FREMONT COUNTY, Colorado — When you can't afford groceries, folks in Penrose know the place to turn is My Neighbor's Cupboard.

"It's fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, meat, shelf staples, dairy," explained Amanda Suddoth, the food bank's CEO and director.

Volunteers with the charity have distributed more than 1.2 million pounds of food to people in need in Fremont County over the years.

"When you see our volunteers, here, we're the voice of almost 30,000 people that are saying please help," she said.

Suddoth started the food pantry in 2013 following the Black Forest Fire. When she relocated to Penrose in 2018, the building's owner donated the use of the facility on a six-month lease. That arrangement was extended for about three years.

But now the owner needs to sell, leaving the cupboard without a kitchen to call home.

"It's not that it came as a surprise, we put the information out at the first of the year and we started fundraising, but COVID happened to all of us," Suddoth explained.

The pantry is run by volunteers. According to IRS documents, the operates on less than $25,000 in annual revenue. Moving comes at a cost.

"One of the biggest reasons that this building works for us is the fact that there are many people who can only walk," explained volunteer Jenny Holiday.

Suddoth said they've been trying to raise enough money to buy the building but they're running out of time. Then the Nuss family came to town and started their own ministry, Selah Mountain Thrift Store, which helps foster families and others in need.

"As the Neighbor's Cupboard does with food, we're in Florence and we do clothes and shoes and we own a thrift store," explained Kimberly Nuss.

She put a post on social media announcing the opening of the thrift store and Amanda reached out to explain her predicament.

"We have 4,000 square feet, all of which is not being used and not being used as we would love for it to be used," Nuss said.

During our interview, Nuss said she came to the decision to share a space with Suddoth if need be.

"If we have to, we will pick her up and take her to Florence and we will spend the next six months then looking for space for the two of us to go," she said. "That's what's going to happen, this is not closing."

Call it a merger. Nuss envisions a single space where people in-need throughout the county can turn for help.

"We're going to figure this out together, as a team," Nuss said. "I'm excited to see what God's going to do in the next chapter. I really am."

While it might not be a long-term fix, it does allow the two charities to keep serving the people they love.