Difficult times seem to bring out the best in people, and that’s proving true as Durango handles social and economic sacrifices to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Good Food Collective, the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado and In the Weeds, a Durango group that helps restaurant workers cope with the stresses of their jobs, are joining forces to prepare meals from food that otherwise would have gone to waste because of the ordered ban on dine-in eating.
The meals will be prepared by local restaurant employees who have been laid off and will be given to local food banks, food pantries and other social service nonprofits serving people in La Plata County.
“This is by no means a long-term solution, but at this point, it’s a little bit of help, a small solution to what we’re facing,” said Rachel Landis with the Good Food Collective.
The idea combines three goals:
To employ restaurant workers now facing unemployment.To find an outlet for the food now in restaurants’ walk-ins and pantries.To help those facing food insecurity.The concept was borrowed from the Montezuma Food Coalition in Cortez, Landis said.
“They told us what they were doing, and it’s like brilliant, I asked if we could use it and they said yes,” she said.
The first meals were prepared Friday morning at Carver Brewing Co., which provided its now-idled kitchen for the project.
“I don’t know exactly what will be on the menu. If people bring sandwich meats, we’re making sandwiches. If people bring things for a soup, we’re making soup. I can almost guarantee you, we will be making a chicken soup of some kind. Jim Carver has already told me he has chicken he needs to get rid of,” said Blaine Bailey with In the Weeds.
Bailey is organizing Saturday’s cooking session at Carver’s.
The key element behind the project is money, and Landis said that’s where Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado came in.
The foundation has allocated $5,000 to pay unemployed restaurant workers to prepare and deliver the meals.
Restaurant workers will be paid $15 an hour from the Community Emergency Relief Fund to prepare and deliver the meals.
“The monetary source is key to pay people who have lost jobs, and Briggen Wrinkle (executive director) with the Community Foundation has agreed to provide $5,000 from the Community Emergency Relief Fund to get this going,” Landis said.
Landis said continued donations to CERF through the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado will help make the effort more than just a one-shot deal. Donations to CERF can be made online at the Community Foundation’s website.
She’d like keep the program going through the duration of the dine-in ban, which has been extended by Gov. Jared Polis to April 30.