The Colorado Trust’s C.R.A.I.G. group spreads love by supporting PBJ program to feed kids | CraigDailyPress.com

The Colorado Trust’s C.R.A.I.G. group spreads love by supporting PBJ program to feed kids

CRAIG — When children go hungry, the pangs are felt throughout an entire community.

"There is a strong correlation between hunger and success later in life. Some children have to stop school to work, just to eat, when they could go on and become counselors, teachers, doctors," said Pat Jones, executive director of Love In the Name of Christ of the Yampa Valley.

Jones’ organization has developed the PBJ program, which uses donations to purchase food items volunteers then place in brightly colored bags every Thursday for distribution to about 100 children through their schools .

After she attended a food conference and learned of the links between food insecurity and teen suicide, Jones decided to expand the program to include high school students for the first time.

"This little food bag could save someone's life," Jones said, holding back tears. “I'm not sure if that will apply to our high school, but I want to ensure that it doesn't. Hopefully, these little food bags will help just a little bit."

The program costs between $400 and 425 per week, and with limited resources, her board approved 90 bags per week to ensure they had resources to also provide school supplies, Thanksgiving food boxes, and winter coats, as well as fund the organization’s other programs.

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Last year, 122 students needed help. Already requests have come for 98 bags, and Jones has been personally writing a check to cover the additional costs.

"We can't add any more kids unless we get enough funds to show the board we can do it," she said.

Jones continues to write grants, and during the last school year, the community gave food and funds to keep the program going. This year, through new work of The Colorado Trust, a group of residents provided one of the first donations.

The Colorado Trust has long supported organizations in Northwest Colorado, including Love INC. New initiatives are now helping residents determine what their communities most need and giving funds to worthy causes.

C.R.A. I.G. (Craig Residents Advocating for Inclusion and Growth) is a group of residents who are gathering to empower and strengthen the community. The group meets from 6 to 8 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month at CNCC Craig Campus, 2801 W. Ninth Street. Food, child care, and interpretation services are provided.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for people to join the Craig resident team. We want a diverse group," said Patty Maradiegue de Wagner, The Colorado Trust's community partnerships organizer.

After the first eight resident meetings, the group recommended The Colorado Trust provide extra funding to Love INC's PBJ program.

"It impacts so many, over 100, kids in our community. It's a program that doesn't get as much funding as it should," said and Karli Bockelman, The Colorado Trust's community facilitator.

The C.R.A.I.G. group is already working on its next project.

"They are deciding who will that be for and what the big needs are, and I would expect something around Christmas," Maradiegue de Wagner said. "Eventually, the group will form a board. … Right now they need to establish a group. We are looking for more men to participate."

For more information about the C.R.A.I.G. Group and The Colorado Trust's work in Craig and Moffat County, call Maradiegue de Wagner at 970-629-8017.

To donate funds or food for the PBJ Program, drop by 656 School Street, or mail checks, payable to Love INC, to P.O. Box 892, Craig, CO 81626. Donations may also be made online at loveincyampavalley.org/donations.html.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Get involved

C.R.A.I.G. Group

Meets: 6 to 8 p.m. the first and third Tuesday
Location: CNCC Craig Campus, 2801 W. Ninth Street.
Food, childcare, and interpretation services are provided.
Contact:
 Patty Maradiegue de Wagner by calling 970-629-8017

How to help

Love INC. of the Yampa Valley is seeking help between major food drives and grant funding cycles to keep its Peanut Butter and Jelly Program going. Bags of food to feed kids on the weekend cost about $5 per bag or $50 for 10 bags. The group is also happy to accept donations of food, including the following items.

  • small or medium sized jars of peanut butter
  • peanut butter spread cups
  • cheese spread cups
  • dry cereal
  • jelly
  • fruit snacks
  • juice boxes
  • applesauce cups
  • cheese crackers
  • Ritz crackers
  • granola bars
  • energy bar
  • cereal bar
  • oatmeal packets, and other nutritious items.

To donate funds or food for the PBJ Program, drop by 656 School Street or mail checks, made out to Love INC, to P.O. Box 892, Craig, CO 81626. Donations may also be made online at loveincyampavalley.org/donations.html

Love INC can be reached by email at loveincpat@yahoo.com or by telephone at 970-836-4400. Volunteers answer phones from 9 a.m. to noon and from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday and from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.