Hayden Free Food Market opens April 6 | CraigDailyPress.com

Hayden Free Food Market opens April 6

LiftUp of Routt County Food Bank Manager Amanda Bradder (left) and volunteer Jordan Beall set up a table of the type of food that will be available through the revamped Hayden Free Food Market starting April 6.
LiftUp of Routt County/Courtesy photo

The former LiftUp of Routt County food bank in Hayden will kick off a new model and new location next month.

The revamped operation is called the Hayden Free Food Market and will be located inside the Hayden Center at 495 W. Jefferson Ave. near downtown. The market will be open to residents in need of food support from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of each month, starting on April 6 and April 20.

“We are excited about this new chapter and new partners, and we are hoping we can feed even more people in Routt County,” said Vie Rhodes, LiftUp director of programs.

From the beginning of 2022, the food bank operated in Hayden out of a temporary mobile location of a semi-truck at The Haven parking lot on the east side of town. The food bank in Hayden has existed since 2001 and previously operated in two different older downtown buildings. The new location at the Hayden Center will save the nonprofit overhead costs of renting their own building and will allow staff and volunteers to distribute more fresh foods to folks in Hayden, Rhodes said.

“Instead of a bank of shelf-stable items, we can really handpick a variety of fresh and healthy options to bring,” Rhodes noted.

The new model will be a set-up and tear-down operation each day that it is open, so more volunteers are needed. Those interested can contact hr@liftuprc.org.

“We have a simple process at this point,” Rhodes said of setting up the Hayden operation. “We were paying a lot of money for overhead when compared to the number of people served; this is a better management of our resources. We will start with what we have (for open times) to be consistent, but we are seeking out feedback.”

Rhodes said many of the existing food clients in Hayden are seniors or retirees and have flexibility to pick up food during the middle of the day. Otherwise, residents in the Hayden area can still shop at the larger food bank at LiftUp headquarters on the northwest side of Steamboat Springs.

Operating out of the Hayden Center will align the outreach with the larger, existing community resource and perhaps reach more clients, Rhodes said. In 2021 the food bank in Hayden served 456 individuals and distributed more than 10,000 pounds of food. The center served 337 individuals in 2020 including offering some prepacked food boxes and deliveries.

“We do feel like there are pockets of people in Hayden who can benefit from our services who don’t utilize it right now,” she said.

Food client income guidelines are available online at liftuprc.org/food-banks. New food clients need to bring a photo ID. LiftUp food clients can earn up to 300% of the federal poverty level, with that higher income level designed to serve individuals who fall into some middle-income gaps for service.

In addition, the market will offer a separate table of grab-and-go food items available for anyone without having to register or bring an ID.

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