Harvest for Hunger, and others, serving food for those in need throughout the valley

Last year's Harvest for Hunger event held in Snowmass Village.
Harvest for Hunger/Courtesy photo

With the holidays right around the corner, many organizations throughout the valley are once again opening their doors and hearts for those in need.

One such place is Harvest for Hunger, is a charitable organization located in Snowmass Village that is dedicated to reducing food waste in order to help those in need.

Harvest for Hunger will be teaming up with Ken Ryan of the Mountain Chalet for food distribution between 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. A van will be stationed in the parking spaces in front of the Mountain Chalet, and folks will be able to park in the available spaces and walk to the van from there, no drive-thru service available.

Executive Director Gray Warr said based on the success they had holding the event last year, they decided to bring it back for a second year.

“All of the food pantries are going to be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, but we still collect food from all of the grocery stores, bakeries and hotels,” he said. “The food is always expiring, it doesn’t care if there’s a holiday or not; if we don’t pick it up then it just goes to the landfill. Last year, we picked up 50 turkeys from Aspen Meadows and we had over 2,000 pounds of food rescue, so we took all of that and distributed that at (Club) Commons for all of the employees and residents that needed food. We went through all of it in an hour and a half.”

This year alone, Harvest for Hunger has rescued 75,553 pounds of food, with last year coming in at 106,662 pounds. By Feeding America’s formula of 1.2 pounds equals a meal, Harvest for Hunger rescued enough food to provide 88,885 meals. In total, they’ve rescued over 250,000 pounds of food since they first opened in 2021. Warr said they’re currently rescuing food from seven grocery stores, five hotels, and two bakeries. 

In 2022, Harvest for Hunger collected over 2,000 pounds of food for their first Thanksgiving food drive. This year will be held in the parking spaces of The Mountain Chalet from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Friday.
Harvest for Hunger/Courtesy photo

Food Bank of the Rockies will also be joining in on the holiday spirit of giving with a mobile food pantry from 11 a.m.-noon on Tuesday at the movie theater in El Jebel. Office Coordinator Stanton Moore said they’ll be giving away 100 Thanksgiving dinners premade by The Little Nell’s Chef Matt Zubrod in conjunction with SkiCo.

“It’s run the same way as any other pantry that we do,” he said. “They just need identification and pull up in their cars and based on the number of people in the households, we’ll distribute the dinners. It’s in a ready serve container and you just literally pop it in the microwave and the meal is done. We only have 100, but the mobile pantry numbers for that particular pantry are normally between 30-50, so it should work out good.”

Pitkin County Senior Center will also be serving dinner at noon on Wednesday. For anyone over 60+ you’re asked to bring a donation and then dinner is served. For anyone under 60 who would still like to participate, a $9 fee is required. Spaces are limited, so if interested, please call 970-920-5432 to be placed on a waiting list.

Lastly, the farm to food pantry organization LIFT-UP, (Life Interfaith Team On Unemployment and Poverty), will be holding two different dinners from 5-6 p.m. on Thursday in Glenwood Springs at the First United Methodist Church and in Rifle at the Presbyterian Church, as well.