COLORADO SPRINGS — The city's first-ever neighborhood food center is opening tomorrow in Southeast Colorado Springs. In an area, where many face food insecurity and low access to nutritious food, a local organization is hoping the opening of this center will help address some of these issues.
“Residents want to be able to access food just like everyone else,” said Patience Kabwasa, the executive director of Food to Power.
The organization, Food to Power, thrives on using food as a vehicle to power equity in the community. Last year, they served more than 50,000 residents in the southeastern part of the city who were facing food insecurity.
“Being able to have fresh, accessible, affordable food is something that every person should be able to have regardless of what their zip code is,” said Kabwasa.
Beginning Saturday, zip codes within Southeast Springs will have even more access to healthy food. Hillside hub, the city's first neighborhood food center will open its doors at 3 p.m.
“The southeast side is also in demand and wanting these things and having accessibility to these things,” said Chauncey Johnson, a community volunteer of two years, who also lives in that part of town. “Most people in this area and around here have to travel at least around maybe 20 minutes or 30 minutes. outside of their area to go get food or groceries or necessities.”
Hillside Hub isn't a typical food bank or grocery store though. The center will provide low-cost and no-cost access to food; food education like how to grow and cook food; and an urban farm, where food is grown with help from staff and the community.
“You're growing healthy things, and you're also getting educated and learning how these things help your body and how they help your community grow and flourish as well,” said Johnson.
Hillside Hub will benefit people and families in neighborhoods like Hillside, Pikes Peak Park, Knob Hill, and Meadows Park.
“In this community, the nearest grocery store is 7/11. And so when you think about the fresh food that you're able to get on the counter of 7/11, it makes sense as to why food is a major contributor to statistics that were put out by El Paso County Public Health, which state there's a 16-year life expectancy difference in neighborhoods in the Southeast,” said Kabwasa. “Food is a big player in that.”
Kabwasa says with the opening of the center, they hope to serve even more people in Southeast Springs and make sure they have access to healthy food whenever they need it.
“I think that this will not only serve a good portion of those folks, but I also think it will be a catalyst in propelling more food access in other areas in the southeast,” said Kabwasa.
Hillside Hub will have its grand opening Saturday, June 11, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. It’s located at 1090 South Institute Street, and the community is invited to attend.