Snowmass Rotary delivers hot meals to Brush Creek Lot residents
Community support at the core of new initiative
Every Friday in February, members of the Rotary Club of Snowmass Village have made a delivery to the residents of the Brush Creek Lot Safe Outdoor Space: around two dozen meals still warm from the home or restaurant kitchen where they were prepared.
The initiative to bring hot meals to locals experiencing homelessness is officially one month into its tenure, according to Snowmass Rotary Community Grants Chair Sherri Goodwin.
Goodwin decided to launch the program after talking with Snowmass Chapel Senior Pastor Robert de Wetter, who has occasionally brought food to the camp residents in the past. Goodwin made the first delivery then recruited fellow Rotarians in the effort.
“I thought certainly having a warm meal coming to them perhaps once a week would be a huge benefit for them or something they would enjoy, and it would not be that difficult to try to find people to do that,” Goodwin said. “Being part of Rotary for some time, I thought that would be right up their alley.”
Her hunch was right: The call for volunteers was a success, with sufficient signups to schedule several months of weekly meal deliveries. The Snowmass Rotary has already extended plans to continue the initiative through the month of April. (It was initially slated to wrap up at the end of March.)
The program helps support local eateries, too. Rotarians can cook meals if they wish — Goodwin opted for pasta and garlic bread for her delivery — or order food for takeout; the Rotary reimburses the cost either way.
“In this time of the pandemic, it’s great to see that we’re giving some business to the restaurants as well,” Goodwin said.
Snowmass Mall mainstays like The Stew Pot and Slow Groovin’ have fulfilled orders for the Friday-night deliveries at a discount, Goodwin said. The Stew Pot has dished out soups for two orders from Rotary; Slow Groovin’ prepped pork sandwiches, coleslaw and mashed potatoes for one order so far.
“We were just happy to help the community,” said Alex Young, the general manager at Slow Groovin’.
That mentality drives the initiative, Goodwin noted: it’s all about community members helping one another through difficult times.
“I know at least the (residents) are getting a good hot meal, and I think that’s a good thing,” Goodwin said. “It makes us feel good and it’s always — the givers, a lot of times, are the ones who benefit more so than the recipients, and I think that’s the case at least with our club, as far as that’s concerned.”
That’s not to say there isn’t a benefit for the recipients, too.
“There’s always food available there one way or another” through resources at Aspen Family Connections, Lift-Up and a number of other local organizations, according to Human Service Officer Braulio Jerez, who works with the city of Aspen and goes to the camp to “assist and support.”
It’s not that the deliveries are the difference between dinner and no dinner — “a lot of people are very self-sufficient,” Jerez said — but a fresh home-prepped (or restaurant-cooked) meal still makes a difference.
“Having a hot meal is not common,” Jerez said. “It’s a nice thing to have for sure.”
Austin Kuck, a resident and peer support specialist at the camp, said the Friday night meals provided by the Snowmass Rotary and some pizza deliveries from Jerry Herships at the Aspen Community Church are a hit among the residents; on most other nights of the week, dinner is usually comprised of canned food, according to Kuck.
“We really appreciate it, that’s for sure,” Kuck said. “People really, really love it.”
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