If you go
What: Hayden food bank open house with hors d'oeuvres
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: LIFT-UP Hayden Food Bank and Emergency Assistance office, 118 S. Walnut St.
More information: The office will be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays.
Steamboat Springs LIFT-UP clients who walk into the new Hayden food bank space are likely to see Holly Blake's bright, smiling face.
They'll also see Blake's handiwork. She made the sign, painted the walls, added decals to the windows for privacy, stripped the floors and organized the space. The volunteer helped every step of the way as the LIFT-UP Hayden Food Bank and Emergency Assistance office moved from the Solandt Memorial Hospital basement to downtown Hayden.
Blake, a volunteer and LIFT-UP of Routt County board member, will manage the food bank.
"We're growing, unfortunately, with the economy, and we just didn't have enough space up there," she said. "We needed more shelf space."
The office moved to 118 Walnut St., just south of Jefferson Avenue. The building held Woodrow's Gun and Pawn Shop until summer 2008 and held Mount Harris Liquors before that.
The LIFT-UP of Routt County office opened Sept.1 and provides food, as well as rent and utility assistance, to people in need. Client numbers have increased since the move, Blake said. She attributed that to more visibility and to the difficulty of using the stairs at the Solandt.
"Most people know where the Solandt hospital is - its been a landmark - but it's kind of up there," LIFT-UP Executive Director David Freseman said. "If you don't have a reason to go up there, you might not be tuned in."
Blake said she'd gotten 100 percent positive feedback about the new site.
In the first quarter of this year, the Hayden office served 19 households. In the second quarter, it served 21, and in the third quarter, it served 26. The fourth quarter started this month.
Freseman said he expected more growth.
"We know in good time Hayden is going to expand dramatically in terms of demographics," he said. "We knew this was going to be an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of growth."
Freseman said the organization was paying rent and operating expenses with donations from the town of Hayden.
"The town has been extremely supportive of having LIFT-UP here since Day 1," he said.
LIFT-UP of Routt County serves only county residents. It requests income verification for some assistance programs and helps people who live at up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line. The agency also administers the Hayden Community Fund, through which Hayden residents donate to help their neighbors.
All Hayden residents also can use Steamboat Springs services, Freseman said. The Steamboat Springs LIFT-UP facility is at 2125 Curve Court. Call 970-870-0727 for general information or 970-879-3374 for the donations center.