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Social services temp workers approved

In other action …

At its regular meeting today, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, a bid recommendation for asphalt materials testing.

• Approved, 3-0, a bid by Axis Steel, Inc., to salvage metal from the county at $178.25 per ton.

• Approved, 3-0, a request by the Moffat County Road and Bridge Department to waive a bid process for chip seal oil. Rather, the county will purchase the product from a company already doing business with the City of Craig.

• Approved, 3-0, an agreement with a Hamilton landowner to provide fencing in exchange for land.

• Approved, 3-0, to manage a grant for the Colorado Water Conservation Board to commission a study on the Yampa River.

• Approved, 3-0, a bid from APH Construction to build additional roofing at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

• Approved, 3-0, a memorandum of understanding regarding Colorado House Bill 1451, which provides collaborative support between several social service agencies.

• Approved, 3-0, support of a Routt County program to provide fatherhood training and support to residents of Northwest Colorado.

• Approved, 3-0, a request to hire temporary workers to distribute food aid.

Marie Peer, director of the Moffat County Social Services Department, sat Tuesday before the Moffat County Commission and asked for more help.

The department needs occasional help to unload, stock and distribute food items bound for area residents in need.

The commission approved, 3-0, Peer's request to hire temporary workers through Flint Personnel — a local temp agency — in Craig. The work is to be done on a monthly or semi-monthly basis. The estimated annual cost is $1,536.

Peer, speaking after the meeting, said the food is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to serve low-income individuals or households. Items sometimes include non-refrigerated milk, canned fruits and vegetables, cereals, pastas and more.

The food arrives intermittently via 18-wheelers.

"Everything comes in great big boxes," she said. "It's heavy stuff.

"We have worked really hard to get that stuff unloaded, but we're just not equipped. We're just not the greatest lifters on the Earth.

"We need people with good lifting ability."

The USDA has been making these deliveries for years, but two factors have recently combined to make the process cumbersome: increased demand for food and fewer volunteers to unload it.

Peer said numbers for 2011 haven't been compiled, but the department saw a large jump in enrollment from 2009 to 2010.

In 2010, the department saw 1,100 visits by households for food distribution, which was up from 650 the year before.

In 2008, there were 650 visits by households; in 2007, there were 450 visits by households; and in 2006, there were 850 visits by households.

Peer said the increase in enrollment isn't necessarily a reflection of the economy, but rather outreach.

"I think we're working harder to get the word out," she said. "I think 2008 and 2009 were really tough years, but our numbers went down. So, we were not doing a very good job of getting the word out.

"It looks like it's back where it should be, but I still think there are people who don't know about it who could benefit from it."

Laura Willems, self-sufficiency manager of the Moffat County Social Services Department, said people or households are eligible if their income is 185 percent of the federal poverty level.

For instance, the federal poverty level for an individual is $10,890, so someone with an income of $20,147 or less is eligible for the USDA program; the federal poverty level for a two-person household is $14,710, so a combined income of $27,214 or less is eligible; the federal poverty level for a three-person household is $18,530, so a combined income of $34,281 or less is eligible; and so on.

Willems said people can contact the department by calling 824-8282, or visiting the office at 595 Breeze St. Identification and proof of income are required to apply.

"Or, if they are on another program through social services, such as food assistance, old-age pension or one of those programs, they can verify their eligibility and don't have to provide proof of income," she said.

Food distributions are typically made on the third Tuesday of every other month at the office on Breeze Street, at senior centers in Craig, and in Maybell and Dinosaur.

"That will vary based upon holidays and scheduling — availability of staff," she said.

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