Each Wednesday afternoon, local residents gather outdoors as they wait for the Lyons Community Food Pantry to open at 3:30pm. Latecomers need to arrive by 5pm. Each household is guided through the food choices with a food pantry volunteer. While waiting, folks can enjoy conversation over cups of coffee donated by The Barking Dog Cafe.
Foods usually available each week include rice, pasta, beans, canned soups and stews, cereal, snacks, frozen meat, milk, eggs, yogurt, bread, household goods as well as canned and fresh fruit and vegetables. Kids are delighted by special snack bags just for them. Much of the food comes from the Boulder Community Food Share where Lyons volunteers “shop” each week, especially for milk and eggs. Other food is donated locally by individuals, businesses, school groups and farmers. Special thanks for donations from Lyons Elementary, Ralph’s Farmstand, Steamboat Natural Foods, St. Vrain Market, Stonebridge Farm and Lucky’s Market (in Boulder).
Ten years ago in 2008, both the Lyons Community Foundation and the Lyons Food Pantry were created. Former pastor of the Lyons Community Church, Claire McNulty Drewes, noticed that there were residents of Lyons who didn’t have enough to eat. Also, there were those needing help paying for basic needs like utilities, rent and medical bills. The church congregation asked the newly formed Lyons Community Foundation (LCF) to assist with funding for the creation of a Food Pantry and a Basic Needs Emergency Fund (BNEF).
The Food Pantry started by providing a few families with boxes of non-perishable foods. Assisting with other emergencies was limited. After the flood in 2013, the increase in needs was astronomical. At that time the LCF, with its 501(c)3 status, served as steward for the vast donations coming in to assist flood-impacted Lyons residents. Within 4 months after the flood, over 1 million dollars was distributed to 300 local households.
In helping with the flood recovery, it became apparent that BNEF and the Food Pantry needed their own unique non-profit status. In July 2014 the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF) was created including both the food pantry along with basic needs and resource matching. Recently Meals on Wheels has been added. Special thanks to the LCF for continuing support and for the $5,000 grant to the Food Pantry for 2018 operations.
In this small town, volunteers are willing to deliver food to those who can’t leave their homes. For example, each week, Lyons Food Pantry volunteer Debbie Tabor phones homebound resident Betsie Montieth to see what food she needs from the pantry. Debbie then delivers the food and has a visit. They have become close friends.
“Because of you I’ve been able to eat and I’m met so many cool people. That’s really important to someone who is kind of homebound. I’ve never had this kind of kindness. I mean, it’s kindness every time you turn around.” – Betsie Montieth, Lyons elder and Lyons Community Food Pantry participant
Nearly 1 in 10 Coloradans (10.3%) struggle with hunger, not always having enough money to buy food. Nearly 1 in 6 Colorado kids (16%) may not always know when or where they will get their next meal. Thank you to the many volunteers and donors who have helped the Food Pantry continue as a vital service for those in our Lyons community who need nutritional support.
Here are Food Pantry Statistics for 2017
· 1,844 Food Pantry visits
· 81 Households
· 167 Individuals
· 45 Children
· 38,165 pounds of food from Boulder Community Food Share
· 14,941 pounds of food collected outside of Boulder Community Food Share
· 1,500 volunteer hours
· $21,957 dollar value of donated food
Singer and Spellman 2,627.5 lbs
St. Vrain Mkt 1,406.5 lbs
Stonebridge 810 lbs
Steamboat Mtn Nat Foods 327.5 lbs
Lyons Elem. garden 299.5 lbs
Lucky's Market 1,036 lbs
The Food Pantry is open Wednesdays 3:30-5pm at 350 Main St. (Lyons Community Church). Participants are asked to show proof of local residency. Donations of food and household products are accepted Wednesdays 10am-3pm.
The vast majority of LEAF’s work is funded through local donations. Everyone is invited to support LEAF which offers a human services safety net to those in need in the greater Lyons area. Services include the Food Pantry, Meals On Wheels, Basic Needs and Resource Matching. To contact LEAF, call 720-864-4309 or email email@example.com