Aspen Skiing Co.’s events pros turn their expertise to food distribution in Basalt |

Aspen Skiing Co.’s events pros turn their expertise to food distribution in Basalt

Western Slope Food Bank of the Rockies and Aspen Skiing Co.’s events department is proving to be a match made in heaven.

The demand for the food bank is soaring due to the economic collapse produced by the coronavirus epidemic. Members of Skico’s events department — suddenly with a lot of time on their hands — have volunteered their brains and brawn to the cause.

A dozen or so Skico workers are handling the organization and distribution of the food bank’s supplies to the public each Thursday at Basalt Middle School.

“We had 180 families last week and this week we should have enough for 250,” said John Rigney, Skico senior vice president.

Food Bank of the Rockies was feeding the hungry in the Roaring Fork Valley prior to the coronavirus crisis. Demand has increased because there are so many people unemployed. Statistics on the amount of food distributed were not immediately available from the nonprofit organization.

Skico employees found themselves out of work or with reduced responsibilities after Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered the closure of all ski areas starting March 15.

Many employees were looking for ways to help the community and one of the needs was distributing food. The events department and a handful of colleagues from other branches of Skico jumped at the opportunity.

“It was one thing we were able to bite off in one big piece,” Rigney said. “We didn’t put it too far out into the company just because a ton of people want to help out and pitch in wherever they can.”

Skico’s expertise at handling events was on display at Thursday’s food distribution. Traffic was filtered into two lines entering the school parking lot from Cottonwood Lane. Vehicles from each line pulled up one at a time to a table where they loaded food. Flaggers and a gatekeeper kept the line moving.

Skico set up tents near each distribution table. Under the tents were mounds of dry goods — soup, canned vegetables, crackers, noodles and granola. Other workers kept bringing a steady supply of hamburger, pork and ham from a refrigeration truck a short distance away.

On Tuesdays, a group from Skico and Food Bank of the Rockies prepackage much of the food in the school gym in preparation for Thursdays. Food will be distributed from noon until 2 p.m. for the foreseeable future.

“Cars pull up and tell us how many families are involved,” Rigney said. People load their vehicles and drive off.

“It’s been great. People are incredibly grateful,” Rigney said. “Last week there were cars lined up at 9:30 (in the morning) for a 12 o’clock distribution.”

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