Well-fed Inc. pantry reopens for needy

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It wasn’t crowded, but there were a lot of individuals and families coming and going as the Well-fed pantry reopened Aug. 1 in the rear of the Maddox building at 700 W. Mansfield Ave.

“We close down June and July,” said Jessica Luem, co-founder of Well-fed. “We reopen every other Thursday, starting in August. Once school resumes, we’ll be sending food bags home with the children of needy families.”

The pantry hours are 1 to 5:30 p.m. every other Thursday. It was open Aug. 1, so the pantry will be open again on Aug. 15 and 29, and the organization will follow the same every-other-Thursday schedule through the remainder of the school year.

This is Well-fed’s third year providing food for needy families. The organization’s website gives this description: “Well-fed Inc. is a grassroots organization which strives to inspire children physically and emotionally through community support and nutritious food. Well-fed believes in partnerships aimed at providing quality nutritious food to insecure children and their families. We are a compassion-driven organization dedicated to investing in the long-term well-being of every child.”

“Any needy family with children in the Englewood School District can come in and fill out an application to shop in the pantry,” Luem said. “Approved families come to the pantry and select food they need to provide nutritious meals for a week.”

She quickly added that Well-fed could not continue to serve about 150 families without the generosity of the neighbors and the community.

She noted Pirates Cove Family Aquatic Center did a food drive for the program, as did Swedish Medical Center. On Aug. 1, representatives of Swedish Medical Center delivered a ton of school supplies that will also be donated to needy families.

Donations and a grant from the Wolf Foundation make it possible to buy food at low cost from the Food Bank of the Rockies.

On Aug. 1, Martha Casillas was shopping for herself and her six daughters.

Her daughter Maria interpreted for Martha as she thanked Well-fed for all the help they provide her family.

“My husband works but this food is such a big help because we have six daughters,” she said. “Our family really wants to thank Well-fed for all they do. We so appreciate the food they provide. It is such a big help for our family.”

This is the second year Sue Blakeslee has volunteered at Well-fed.

“I volunteered for the summer Lunch Box Express program first but they told me about Well-fed, I became a volunteer and I love it,” the Centennial resident said. “The clients become friends and the pay for the time I spend here are the hugs and the smiles from the people we are helping.”