Feeding Montbello Amidst COVID-19
By Pam Jiner of Montbello Walks
Our “Food for Seniors” program started with the Mayor’s Stay At Home Orders. We purposed to find and feed all of Montbello’s elders who are in need; and to help keep them safe by keeping them off public transportation and out of the grocery stores.
Since 2017, Montbello Walks has been providing the Senior Steppers with weekly deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy supplemental food options. The Senior Steppers are a dynamic group of cultural richness with participants ranging in ages 63 to 92. We gather weekly for walks in the park, mountain and herbal hikes, attend various city-wide outdoor festivals to exercise and engage with others. Within months of providing food to this group we noted remarkable improvements in appearance, attitude, endurance, balance and increased enthusiasm. Seeing these improvements, Montbello Walks added a weekly Healthy Seniors Cooking Class where we all came together to share the many ways fruits and vegetables could be prepared. Our elders prepared meals from China, Vietnam, Ghana, Nigeria and Mexico. We also taught how to make healthy and nutritious smoothies. Everyone fully enjoyed preparing meals for each other and we had so much fun together in the kitchen!
By the summer of 2019 our elders were in such good shape that Montbello Walks hosted Denver’s very first “ Senior Olympics” - Community Field Day Event! Oh yes, our elders were running for the Blue Ribbons! They truly inspired our community to move it’s butt.
Then COVID-19 Hits and it hits Hard. Since March 2020, Montbello Walks has increased the number of food deliveries from 16 bags once a week to the Senior Steppers; to distributing over 195 bags of food each week to elders in need. Our outreach and home deliveries are steadily increasing. On May 9, 2020 we coordinated a delivery of nearly 6,000 pounds of food in partnership with Kaizen Food Rescue at a Food Distribution PopUp where we were able to feed 392 individuals.
Unfortunately, the need for food in Montbello does not end with the lifting of the Stay At Home Orders. We anticipate feeding our community throughout the year and possibly into 2021.
We must also concentrate on feeding our kids. As parents begin to try and put the pieces of their lives back together, food assistance will greatly ease the stress. Food Donations can be made by contacting me, Pam Jiner at 720-620-5735 to arrange a pickup. Thank you!