Las Animas Helping Hands
From Las Animas, Colorado
Story Type: Programs
Programs Used: The Emergency Food Assistance Program
A Care and Share partner since 2008, Las Animas Helping Hands is a critical ally in the fight against hunger in Southern Colorado. Their mission is to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families in Bent County and the surrounding area in a compassionate and trust-building environment while providing opportunities to develop self-sufficiency.
Helping Hands, one of our two partners in Bent County, was formed in 2004 by members of the community concerned about alleviating the suffering caused by several years of drought in southeastern Colorado. They initially focused on helping keep utilities on for struggling families, but in short time, learned that families in crisis faced many more challenges. Assistance programs have since expanded to include prescription costs, gasoline, clothing, income tax preparation, a community garden, a food pantry, and the administration of USDA food programs.
Over the past 15 years, Helping Hands’ food pantry has seen a steady increase in the number of families, seniors, and other vulnerable neighbors they have served. Last year, their food pantry provided food for 1,715 people across 572 households. As the local administrator of The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Bent County, Helping Hands served 4,942 people with nutritious TEFAP food last year. They now host USDA food distributions in two separate locations to reach more neighbors in need through TEFAP and CSFP (senior boxes).
Passionate volunteers are the heartbeat of Helping Hands. Whether the temperature outside is in the single digits or over 100 degrees, their amazing group of volunteers show up to serve the community at their Mobile Food Pantry distributions. On those days, 25-30 volunteers help with set-up, sort and separate produce into bags, greet guests, assist with paperwork, and carry food to neighbors’ car. We are grateful for partners like Helping Hands, and their volunteer family, for helping ensure neighbors in Bent County have the food they need to thrive!