The cupboard at Fresh Start Center is nearly bare.
Panic shopping, reduced store hours and job losses from coronavirus-related closures mean “the shelves are starting to run low,” said Grant Winger, executive director.
Formerly known as High Plains Helping Hands, Fresh Start Center started in 2007 to help the working poor and elderly families on the eastern plains.
The center focuses on providing fresh produce harvested from adoptable garden beds and donations, along with canned and packaged staples.
It has been at 7375 Adventure Way, off Woodmen and Black Forest roads, since 2011.
The center had grown to serve nearly 12,000 people, with 46 new families in the past two weeks needing help feeding their families, Winger said.
But with churches, organizations and businesses closing in-person services and scheduled drives canceled, donations have shrunk, Winger said.
“A large food drive led by Boy Scout Troop 149 has been postponed at a time we could use the food donations the most, with no date set to reschedule,” he said. “Even as we do our best to scour for deals to replenish our stocks to continue to feed the hungry, the stores don't have much to sell.”
Across the region, community food banks that have remained open are appealing for public donations. At a media briefing on Wednesday, representatives from the Colorado Springs Corps of the Salvation Army, the Marian House Soup Kitchen and Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, and Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado requested financial and supply donations.
“We see a growing need for support for organizations, and there is a massive ask to the community to come together, not live in fear and support one another," Winger said.
Excess food people might have can be dropped off at Fresh Start Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Monetary donations may be made online at https://www.freshstartcenter.com/give.
Curb-side pickup is available for families needing food.
“We’re all in this together,” Winger said. “Some have been fortunate in these times, and others are having a hard time.”