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Food Pantry asks City for endorsement

Jul 14, 2022

GCFP In the News

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Gunnison Country Food Pantry volunteer Julia Wilson works at the organization’s present location on North Main Street. Photo credit: courtesy.

Food Pantry asks City for endorsement


New facility on track to be complete by Labor Day


Gunnison Country Times
July 14, 2022
Bella Biondini, Times Associate Editor

On Tuesday, the Gunnison Country Food Pantry asked the City of Gunnison to endorse and advocate for the renovation of the organization’s new facility — a move that will allow the organization to continue combating food insecurity in the Gunnison Valley.

 The pantry Board of Directors recently purchased the building at 405 W. Tomichi, the former location of the Colorado Fitness gym for approximately $587,000, after the organization outgrew its present facility on North Main Street. The pantry is two-thirds of the way to its 2022 fundraising goal of $600,000 to meet renovation costs. During a regular meeting on June 11, the pantry asked city council to formally endorse the project and commit funding for the expansion project in the fall. The effort is on schedule and expected to be finished by Labor Day.

 Gunnison County and the Town of Mt. Crested Butte have both donated $30,000 to the Food Pantry, and the Town of Crested Butte has given $50,000. Board Vice President Katie Dix said the city of Gunnison’s inaction puts doubt in community members’ minds when they consider donating.

 “We have to be able to say to people that the city thinks what we’re doing is right,” Dix said.

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Volunteer Kathy Walker Calliau assists a recipient. Photo credit: Aaron Mason Artistry

 Council Member Jim Gelwicks said that a formal resolution is the strongest statement that council could make. Council directed staff to create a resolution for the following July meeting.

 The pantry’s new shopping and food storage areas and business office will use 4,000 square feet of the new facility — doubling the space board members and volunteers work in. The organization will lease the remaining space to another nonprofit for rental income. Having depended solely on donations since it was established 15 years ago, Dix said the move will help provide a new level of financial stability.

 After renovations are complete, the new site will be ADA compliant and have equipment that will help volunteers move heavy boxes and pallets around the space. Other upgrades include a refillable water station, which is part of the clean drinking water initiative promoted by the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District and the Colorado River Water Conservancy District. The pantry will receive plastic jugs that recipients can bring back and reuse each time they need fresh water.

 The board is also collaborating with the Gunnison County Department of Juvenile Services to provide a peer support specialist to connect recipients with other services that are available within the community.

 “There’s a need, there’s not enough wraparound services in our community,” Executive Director Jodi Payne told the Times.

 “The hope is that the peer support specialists help the pantry recipients from having to stop at the Department of Health and Human Services, and wherever,” Payne said. “They can help guide them to where they might need to be especially if they don’t know.”

 (Bella Biondini can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or bella@


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