Sought after Aurora food giveaway reveals widespread need, organizers say

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AURORA | As cars snaked through the parking lot of Hinkley High School, May 27, it became obvious how badly the Aurora Mobile Food Pantry is needed by Aurora community members.

There was far more need than supplies.

“I think the turnout rally helps to underscore the need for such a basic need for food,” said Josh Nicholas, Neighborhood Liaison of the Community Relations Division for the City of Aurora. “People are showing up at 7 a.m., three hours before the 10 a.m. start. We’re trying to increase our capacity every week to serve more food.”

The food pantry served 400 vehicles that day, where on average a family of four received enough food for five days.

The partnership among Food Bank of the Rockies, the City of Aurora and Aurora Interfaith Community Services has provided the food being distributed at these mobile pantry locations.

A variety of items are given to the families taking advantage of these services, including ready-to-eat meals, grains, fresh produce, dairy products and foods like eggs and fish.

The Colorado Pet Food Pantry will also begin providing food and pet support for the month of June. Aurora Animal Care also provided pet food for families in need.

We Don’t Waste will be throwing their hat into the giving ring starting in June. This new partnership will increase the food made available to families who need it most.

Since launching May 20, the City of Aurora has provided approximately 50,000 pounds of food to 2,500 Aurora community members, with the numbers increasing both weeks. It is estimated that 30,000 pounds of food and 1,300 meals were served on May 27.

Beyond that, the meals are going fast. The food pantry had distributed all available food within 30 minutes of opening each day.

It is no easy feat to move that much food to that many families. In order to keep the nearly endless line of cars moving at a respectable clip, the Aurora Mobile Food Pantry enlists the support of 50 volunteers — and it runs the gamut from community members to Aurora Police officers.

Starting in June, the food pantry will be located at Gateway High School every Wednesday, starting at 10 a.m. and will operate until all the food has been distributed. In July the food pantry will move to Overland High School and move its distribution day to Thursday. The change of day is to allow a chance to those who might not be able to make it on Wednesdays — the time will remain at 10 a.m.

The program will continue through August, but that location has yet to be decided.